The global spread of western medicine arguably has acted both to the benefit and to the detriment of the world. It is undeniable that pharmaceutical medications have saved many lives in preventing or treating severe illnesses, and helped with minor aches and pains as well. However, one part of the equation that Australia hasn’t been able to solve is the removal of cannabis as a viable option for the treatment of health conditions.
Notably, prescription drugs and alcohol have remained legal and widely available. They’re advertised with gusto, and sales have been brisk. But taking herbal-medicine choices away from people creates a false limitation on the overall health and happiness they can achieve. For years that was the case for the people of this amazing country.
With cannabis being prohibited by the government, the flower has been treated as a “drug”, and people who used it treated as criminals, since the early 1900s. The negative stigma persisted stubbornly, due to a lack of knowledge regarding the medical benefits being shared among health professionals and the public. But, as with the current situation in the United States, it was clear that Australia was going through their own awakening of sorts.
To new beginnings
With a wealth of inspirational success stories, positive clinical trials with cannabis, and a legion of people willing to campaign and push for cannabis legalization, a “win” of change has blown away the dark cloud of ignorance across the island continent. Australia has decided to change course, get on board the freedom train, and implement steps to get medical cannabis reinstated. The Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 has been amended by the Australian government to allow cannabis to be grown and distributed according to the new policies currently being formulated.
While this is undeniably HUGE news for Australia, it’s by no means the logical, inevitable end result, full legalization. There is still much to consider while creating a plan to roll out a program of this magnitude as seamlessly as possible. So, for now it’s back to the drawing board, although Lucy Haslam, a medical cannabis advocate and co-founder of United in Compassion, calls the decision to legalize medical cannabis an “essential step in the process”. As is often the case, there will be a waiting period before people can start reaping the immediate benefits, as the government needs to figure out a way to properly regulate the industry.
“When the law says one thing and people do another, a free society changes the law.”
—Sen. David Leyonhjelm, New South Wales, Australia
In the meantime, Haslam explained, “There’s also a lot of work to do on educating people and doctors, some of who remain a bit uncomfortable about prescribing medical cannabis to patients.” This will only serve to further enlighten the public to the truth about cannabis and replace the negative thought processes that prevent people from accepting it as a legitimate medication. Migraines, inflammation, physical pain, multiple sclerosis, anorexia, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI), cancer, and so much more could all be impacted by introducing cannabis into the routine.
Accelerated by the Internet, times are changing. People are being forced to adapt to new things and new ways of thinking in many different areas. Australia is beginning to realize this, and now just needs to figure out the formula to make it run smoothly.
From up above to Down Under
In the end, it all comes down to business. With Australia legalizing medical cannabis, who gets the money? It has to make sense for all parties involved, from growers to distributors to consumers. How will that work out with health care?
In November cannabis will be legal for medical purposes, but strictly controlled after the decision by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Free adults consuming cannabis at their discretion will still be illegal, despite the efforts of Sen. David Leyonhjelm; but at least there is a step in the right direction. As he put it, in 2015:
Governments are not competent and do not have the moral authority to ban something based either on disapproval or on a desire to protect people from their own choices…It is high time we stop interfering with adult choices. Government opinions are only relevant to those who are incapable of deciding things for themselves.
After the initial announcement Minister for Health Sussan Ley said in a statement, “This is an historic day for Australia and the many advocates who have fought long and hard to challenge the stigma around medicinal cannabis products so genuine patients are no longer treated as criminals.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Garyn Angel is an inventor, award-winning financial consultant, and CEO of MagicalButter.com, maker of the botanical extractor he invented for infusing cannabis into foods. Firmly committed to needed legal reform, Angel was named to the exclusive CNBC NEXT List of visionary global business leaders for his work on legal marijuana. He is also founder of the Cheers to Goodness Foundation, a charity that helps “medical refugees”—mainly veterans and children—who need herbal therapy when traditional treatment options have failed.