Pubdate: Wed, 10 Feb 2016
Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Copyright: 2016 The Sydney Morning Herald


The Turnbull government will on Wednesday introduce a national scheme 
into Parliament to licence medicinal cannabis growers.

Although medicinal cannabis is available for particular patient 
groups and clinical trials, it is now illegal to grow and import most 
medicinal cannabis products, leading some patients to buy them from 
the black market and run the risk of prosecution for drug use and 
possession. Health Minister Sussan Ley hoped for bipartisan support 
for legal changes that she said would help chronically ill patients 
in allowing therapeutic products to be grown on a larger scale to 
meet patient demand. She was confident a single cultivation scheme 
rather than state- and territory-based schemes, would hasten 
regulation and patients' access to medicinal cannabis. "A national 
regulator will also allow the government to closely track the 
development of cannabis products for medicinal use from cultivation 
to supply and curtail any attempts by criminals to get involved," she 
said. It is unclear whether the scheme will gain enough Senate 
support, because it differs from a separate Greens-led bill for a 
national regulator that would oversee growth, manufacture and 
distribution of medicinal cannabis. This model, introduced into the 
Senate in 2014, has support from both Liberal and Labor senators.
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