Five physicians in Australia have been cleared to continue practicing medicine after a medical marijuana controversy. Health authorities in the southern state of Victoria declared that the doctors did not place the community in harms way by prescribing medical marijuana to a few patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions like epilepsy.
Under Australian law, recreational marijuana use is illegal. However, in South Australia, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, possession of up to 100 grams of cannabis is decriminalized and punishable by a civil fine, so the country does have some progressive laws in place. In the state of Victoria, the use of medical marijuana by qualifying patients is expected to be legalized in the near future. The Herald Sun reports that despite the promise of legal medical marijuana, many families and practicing physicians are still being hassled by child protection authorities.
Agents of child protection services and one large hospital representative in the state have reportedly filed complaints against five physicians who used medical marijuana to treat patients. Even though it is supposed to be legalized sometime soon, the use of all forms of cannabis is still technically illegal even for medicinal purposes. However, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency decided not to reprimand the doctors under investigation.
The doctors under investigation were found to have only used medical marijuana to treat patients suffering from medical conditions like epilepsy, a condition in which cannabis oil has been proven to reduce the number of and severity of seizures. It would be a waste of time, money and resources to build a case against physicians for prescribing medical marijuana in Victoria if it will be legalized in the near future.