Medical Cannabis law reform in Australia

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    Abstract

    Attempts at medicinal cannabis law reform in Australia are not new. However, in historical perspective 2015 and 2016 will be seen as the time when community debate about legalisation of medicinal cannabis reached a tipping point in a number of Australian jurisdictions and when community impetus for change resulted in major reform initiatives. In order to contextualise the changes, the August 2015 Report of the Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) and then the Access to Medicinal Cannabis Bill 2015 (Vic) introduced in December 2015 into the Victorian Parliament by the Labor Government are scrutinised. In addition, this editorial reviews the next phase of developments in the course of 2015 and 2016, including the Commonwealth Narcotic Drugs Amendment Act 2016 and the Queensland Public Health (Medicinal Canna- bis) Bill 2016. It identifies the principal features of the legislative initiatives against the backdrop of the VLRC proposals. It observes that the principles underlying the Report and the legislative developments in the three Australian jurisdictions are closely aligned and that their public health approach, their combination of evidence-based pragmatism, and their carefully orchestrated checks and balances against abuse and excess constitute a constructive template for medicinal cannabis law reform.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)497-515
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Law and Medicine
    Volume23
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016

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