Victoria, Australia | A new bill that could legalize medical marijuana in the south eastern coastal state of Victoria will likely be introduced before the end of the year. On Friday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said that the Victorian Law Reform Commission had been asked to submit a report by August of next year to determine when medical marijuana laws should change. The laws would allow people suffering from terminal illnesses and chronic, debilitating diseases to access marijuana.
Premier Andrews said, “It is my hope to have the bills into Victorian parliament before the end of the year.”
Andrews does not expect any pushback from the Upper House and feels that community supporters and medical experts will likely push the measure through without opposition.
Andrews spoke outside the home of Cassie Batten and Cooper Wallace at a press conference on Friday. Cassie, mother of Cooper, had previously been arrested for admitting in a television interview that she gave her epileptic son medical marijuana. Charges against the Victorian mother were later dropped, which prompted action to legalize marijuana for it’s medicinal merits.
At the press conference, Andrews said, “No parent should ever have to make a choice between saving their child and obeying the law. That is the definition of a law that is out of date. That is the definition of an area of our law that needs to be reformed and improved for the future.”
Marijuana will remain illegal for recreational use in the Australian state, and medical marijuana will only be made available in small quantities. Access to medical marijuana will be granted to patients suffering from Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, AIDS, Glaucoma, and Parkinson’s Disease.
Photo Credit: TheAge.com
Currently, marijuana laws in that state of Arkansas come with some of the harshest punishments in the nation. If a person is caught in possession of any amount of cannabis less than 4 ounces, he or she can be sentenced to one year in jail, and be fined up to $2,500. Multiple marijuana possession arrests can even result in a felony record, up to $6,000 in fines, and six years in prison.
A pastor named Fred Porter, Vice President of the Citizen’s Alliance for the Legalization of Marijuana in Hot Springs, Arkansas is leading the campaign to reform marijuana laws in the state with the Arkansas Hemp and Marijuana Initiative. Porter explained to KATV,
“We want it regulated. We want it made available, and we think we have the very best amendment out there to do that.”
Under the Arkansas Hemp and Marijuana Initiative, cultivation, production, distribution, sale, purchase, possession and use of marijuana would be legalized for adults aged twenty-one years and older, and home grow operations would be limited to thirty-six plants.
When explaining why he supports marijuana legalization so strongly, Porter cited the positive effects seen in Colorado’s economy, and referenced the cash crop hemp would become for Arkansas farmers.
Porter also wants to legalize marijuana in his home state because of the personal experience he has with cannabis oil treatments for his stage-four prostate cancer. He has been illegally obtaining and using cannabis oil and reports seeing positive results from the treatments. His only complaint is the high cost of this natural medicine, and the fact that he, technically, commits a criminal act every time he uses it. If it was legal and regulated in Arkansas, he would be able to obtain it more easily and at a lower price.
Although Porter says he may not live to see the day marijuana is legalized in Arkansas, he is going to advocate for it as long as he is able. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel’s office already approved the amendment and title wording. Now the organization must play the waiting game for petition instructions from the office of the Secretary of State. They anticipate the amendment being on the ballot in 2016.
photo credit: stray-kat