A bill which seeks to legalise medicinal cannabis in Australia has been introduced to Parliament. This is certainly welcome news for those who have been calling for Australia to follow in the footsteps of the United States, where a number of states have already legalised medical marijuana.
Many Aussies want medicinal cannabis
At present, marijuana is illegal throughout Australia, which is known for policies of zero-tolerance and harsh penalties for possession, use and sale of substances deemed illicit.
The move by Australian lawmakers will essentially amend the Narcotics Drugs Act 1967. The way things look, with even the main opposition party immediately supporting the measure, medical marijuana is all but guaranteed to become law in the near future.
It appears that the move to finally legalise medicinal cannabis is a response to a popular call for it. Remember that in 2013, the government conducted a nationwide survey of 24,000 Australians. Nearly 70 per cent of the respondents supported amending the law to allow medical cannabis Australia to become a reality. Now, here we are.
In all the excitement about the impending entry of legal medicinal cannabis in Australian society, we seem to have forgotten that marijuana has other effects that are not exactly medicinal in nature.
In the United States, many employers in states where marijuana is legal are still at a loss trying to reconcile marijuana laws with previously established company policies. While people with illnesses have a right to seek any and all means to find relief, employers also have a right to protect themselves and the workplace in general. It is, after all, no secret that regular cannabis users tend to suffer impaired concentration and body coordination, making activities such as driving a car or operating machinery very challenging and dangerous.
When the bill becomes law, we will then see how it affects Australian workplaces.