Medical Marijuana
Packages of medical marijuana are seen on a counter at a dispensary belonging to Tikun Olam, Israel's largest medical marijuana supplier, in Tel Aviv March 27, 2016. Picture taken March 27, 2016. Reuters/Ronen Zvulun

People in Canberra seeking medicinal cannabis will so get the support of the ACT government as it would soon be starting a medical marijuana scheme. The government is developing an evidence-based framework for the scheme, Assistant Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris announced on Thursday.

The medicinal cannabis scheme would support those who are at their vulnerable most and would also work to establish ACT as a leader in the research and development of cannabis products in Australia.

The government is also looking forward to developing a framework for the prescription, use and distribution of medical marijuana to people who need it on medical grounds.

However, according to Canberra Times, ACT would not be able to produce cannabis for medicinal purposes despite the Federal Government enabling of the cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis products through a national scheme.

The move comes after the Therapeutic Goods Administration decided to reschedule marijuana from being a prohibited substance to being a controlled drug. The focus would be on research and development.

“We already have some of the best medical researchers in the country based at our local institutions and advancing research on the efficacy of medicinal cannabis to treat a range of illnesses and conditions presents another opportunity to support cutting edge research in Canberra and showcase our city as the research capital of Australia. The University of Canberra has already started a $1 million collaboration with Cann Pharmaceutical to commence a medical-grade cannabis therapy trial for the treatment of melanoma,” Fitzharris said in a statement.

The move will allow ACT to treat medical marijuana as it treats other medicines. The announcement was also welcomed by ACT Greens member Shane Rattenbury. He has been pushing for a medicinal cannabis scheme for more than two years and now wants the scheme in place within a year.

He also wants an amnesty in the interim “for genuinely ill people in possession of small amounts of cannabis for medical use.” He believes that the scheme must be made open with a doctor’s involvement to those with terminal illnesses and also other serious illnesses including children with severe epilepsy.