A group is once again pushing for a trial of medical marijuana in Australia, which now considers the use of cannabis for any purposes illegal.
The NSW Greens are pushing for a 12-month trial of medical use of marijuana to treat chronic pain and other illnesses.
“A trial is well past time given both the growing body of evidence of the therapeutic and palliative benefits of cannabis and changing attitudes in the medical profession and the health sciences research community,” said John Kaye, the health spokesperson leading the effort by the Greens.
Previous attempts have been made to introduce a trial for medicinal marijuana use in the country. In 2003, the government considered legislation that would allow a four-year trial of medicinal cannabis. At the time, there was disagreement over treating the drug as a medicinal herb or forming a partnership with a big pharmaceutical company to create a prescription drug with a complex delivery system.
Research released in 1998 and 2000 also studied the potential uses and benefits of medical marijuana. Researchers concluded that the drug might best benefit conditions such as HIV, cancer, neurological disorders and chronic pain that did not respond to conventional treatments. The drug was said to be able to treat pain, control appetite, and relieve nausea.
The new push by the NSW Greens and Kaye has called for State Health Minister Jillian Skinner to allow a tightly controlled trial. Kaye plans to table a motion on the proposal in the fall 2012 session of Parliament.
“We’re meeting with the mayor about the proposal to seek her support to conduct the trial in the Kempsey area,” he said. “Even a 12 month trial would bring a lot of work to the area.”
A survey conducted in 2007 found that 68.6 percent of respondents supported legislation permitting the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and 73.6 percent supported a trial for the use of medical marijuana to treat chronic conditions.
There has been no official response from the Australian government on the proposed 12-month trial for medical marijuana.
What other countries have conducted or proposed medical marijuana trials?
About the author:
Amanda Tradwick is a grant researcher and writer for CollegeGrants.org. She has a Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Delaware, and has recently finished research on Collage Grants for Minorities.