Big News! November 2016 will mark a historic time in Australia for cannabis re-legalisation.
Whether you're a medical patient or cannabis enthusiast this week will be the first time in 80 years that cannabis will be legal as medicine in Australia and legal to cultivate and research.
THIS IS NOT A DRILL! There's been a lot of talk since February this year but this week the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) will formally reschedule cannabis AND the Office of Drug Control (ODC) will start licensing cultivation.
Hi! I'm Charlie and this is what you need to know.
"We must wage total war" "against public enemy number one.
" "Marijuana, pot, grass, whatever you want to call it" "is the most dangerous drug.
" "The new and deadly menace" "lurking behind closed doors" "the burning weed with it's roots in HELL!" From this November the TGA has promised to move cannabis from Schedule 9 to Schedule 8 on the National Medicines and Poisons Classification.
In other words, it's moving from super illegal drug which you can't do anything with to super illegal drug which if you have the right prescription and state laws you can possibly after specialist referral be considered to get permission to use cannabis.
only in special circumstances.
after exhausting all other options.
*sarcastic and exasperated eye rolling* The news headline should actually read But look it is still the biggest step in 80 years so it's a big deal.
Some of you will remember, in February this year Federal Parliament made headlines by passing a bill to make changes to something called The Narcotic Drugs Act.
Long story short the bill basically allows Australia as a country to grow and research cannabis without breaking our international legal obligations but, it doesn't say anything about access for medical patients.
The bill simply creates a government regulator and framework to allow cannabis to be transported, researched and cultivated.
It's the same thing they did for poppies to make opium.
The change really is quite important because it was one of the last major roadblocks stopping patients from accessing cannabis and it comes into effect this week.
The TGA reclassification is another one of those roadblocks but believe it or not this change has zero legal effect unless medical cannabis is adopted by the individual states.
Since February Victoria, New South Wales, and just this month, Queensland have all passed their own limited medical cannabis laws.
The ACT and Tasmania are working on their own bills too.
Don't get any ideas though weed will still be very much illegal nationwide if you don't have a prescription.
To get a prescription, it must be individually approved by the head of the Department of Health in your state or by a specially authorised doctor and only for select few medical conditions.
So for most people it's going to be a while before you can access medical marijuana.
Sorry! It's really quite appalling because the government have dragged their heels throughout this whole process.
Even though a Senate Committee recommended legalising cannabis way back in 2013 and patients, scientists, and activists have been adamant about it for decades.
A research group, back in 2015, found that 91 percent of the population supported medical cannabis.
91 percent! Guys, the government should be leading the way not holding us back.
The TGA schedule of poisons and chemicals is there to protect the public from dangerous substances.
But the only dangerous thing about this naturally growing flower is being caught with it.
Guess how many people have died from cannabis.
NONE And I dont mean none, like, "I have nothing to wear" none.
I mean none, as in, not a single case in 10,000 years of recorded cannabis use.
More people have died from taking selfies than cannabis.
Alcohol on the other hand kills 15 people Every.
in Australia and it's perfectly legal.
Cigarettes are exactly the same, and ironically, do the one thing the label says it will do.
But you can still buy cigarettes easily at your local supermarket.
On the other hand, it's actually scientifically impossible for cannabis to kill you, as it's non toxic.
And yet it is listed as a dangerous poison here in Australia when it's not.
All of these irrational and incorrect fears about cannabis will take a long time to undo.
As you can imagine one of the biggest hurdles for medical marijuana is educating doctors and the community about how it can help and how safe it is.
There's a ton for doctors to learn none of it was taught in medical school because it wasn't considered medicine.
It's going to be a slow road for it to be reaccepted and used by the wider community but it will happen.
It is called a war on drugs, but it really is just a war on people.
A civil war.
And overwhelmingly a war on the sick and disadvantaged in the community.
The drug war continues to be a verifiable failure in every measure, and even the liberals agree.
Another huge thing that happens next week is that the Office of Drug Control (ODC) will start taking applications from the public for the research, manufacture, and cultivation of cannabis.
Get ready to start seeing lots of news stories about companies and groups as they get licensed to grow around Australia.
But it's not just anyone who can grow it.
Firstly, it will be expensive at about $5,000 for the licence and $2,000 for a permit every year.
Plus, you'll have to have very strict security measures in place and meet a long list of compliance requirements and demonstrate that you are a "fit and proper person".
I think I'm a 'proper' person.
not so sure about the 'fit' part.
Here's the thing though International laws state that we can't produce more cannabis than is actually required by patients.
So we predict only a handful of permits and licenses will be granted at least to begin with because not many people can actually apply to be patients yet.
Not until more medical conditions are eligible anyway.
So a big week for cannabis in Australia! We're finally getting somewhere and while it's far from perfect we are heading in the right direction.
You can find links to the TGA announcements FAQ's and cultivation application in the description below.
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