Australia to legalize medical marijuana this fall

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Medical marijuana will become legal in Australia come November, but it will be tightly regulated and the federal government must still set up a national oversight system.

While a new market will open, cannabis entrepreneurs shouldn’t expect an MMJ industry to be fully up and running in Australia any time soon. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that it could be “some time” before a fully functioning medical cannabis system is in place and serving patients.

Until now, the Australian government has only permitted medical trials for MMJ – a situation that will change with the latest steps to put the medical cannabis industry on legal footing.

The legalization move came after approval this week from the Therapeutic Goods Administration. The formal decision was published Wednesday.

A local medical cannabis advocate said that patients waiting to get legal MMJ would be in a “holding pattern” while a regulatory system is established.

United in Compassion co-founder Lucy Haslam also fretted about red tape, warning that the industry could become prohibitively expensive so that patients would be unable to get legal MMJ at an affordable price.

According to the Herald, the final decision on legalization came after Australian lawmakers supported revisions to the Narcotic Drugs Act that allow cannabis to be legally cultivated and produced in the country for medicinal purposes.