A new bill introduced to Australian parliament Wednesday could legalize the cultivation of medical marijuana by the end of March, according to ABC News. Currently marijuana is still illegal under the Narcotic Drugs Act of 1967.
The new legislation proposed would amend this bill, allowing patients with painful or chronic conditions to treat their symptoms with cannabis. If passed, a licensing system will be implemented to regulate marijuana grow operations.
Health Minister Sussan Ley is a supporter of the bill, but reminds the public that using marijuana for recreational purposes remains illegal. She hopes that allowing some use of the drug will give scientists an opportunity to research its value to the medical field.
“We know the Greens are supportive,” Ley said. “In fact, I’ve had support across the chambers and around the country and I really believe this is bipartisan.”
This is the second movement this year to promote medical use of cannabis in Australia. Scientists in New South Whales have developed a marijuana-based drug to treat children that do not respond to epilepsy medication.