The ACT Greens believe that people who are sick and dying should have access to treatment that makes their illness more bearable and their lives more comfortable. That's why Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury has presented draft legislation and a discussion paper to the community for consultation.
- What will the proposed legislation do?
- Is there a risk that this will encourage cannabis use more broadly?
The legislation makes it legal for people suffering chronic or terminal illnesses to use cannabis for medical purposes. It would also permit the person, or their nominated persons, to grow cannabis plants for that purpose. It does not attempt to set up a system for selling or supplying cannabis to people, nor does it set up a system for quality control of cannabis.
In taking this step, this legislation attempts to give people who are suffering legal access to treatment, and through the process of decriminalisation it hopes to reduce the stigma attached to medical cannabis that is feared by many people who rely on cannabis treatment as the only way of relieving their pain or discomfort.
This approach is similar to approaches used for many years in Canada6 and several parts of the United States.
There is no concrete evidence that passing medical cannabis laws increases cannabis use generally.9 Given current availability of cannabis in the community, and the narrow scope for cannabis cultivation provided for in the legislation, this legislation is unlikely to have an impact on the broader consumption of cannabis.