Health Minister Cameron Dick has introduced new laws in Queensland allowing the widespread use of medicinal cannabis in Queensland.
Mr Dick says the legislation, to be debated in parliament later in the year, will establish a framework for the legal use of medicinal cannabis after overwhelming public support for the change.
He said he wanted to make it clear the legislation wouldn’t legalise recreational cannabis use or allow people to grow it, even for therapeutic purposes.
“Medicinal cannabis, regardless of its form, is a dangerous drug,” Mr Dick told parliament on Tuesday.
“When used improperly, or as an alternative to proven conventional treatments without close medical supervision, it is potentially harmful.”
Mr Dick said his department would develop a public awareness campaign to ensure people were aware cannabis remained illegal.
There would also be a cap on the amount of medicinal cannabis that could be dispensed to patients to limit the risk of the drug “being diverted for unlawful purposes”, he said.
Mr Dick said the changes came after Queensland last year become the first state to legalise the use of restricted medicinal cannabis products.
“While this was an important first step to permit the lawful use of medicinal cannabis products, a more comprehensive and robust regulatory framework is required,” he said.
“The bill before the house provides that framework.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the government was compelled to act after hearing stories about relief the drug could bring.
“I have been moved by the stories of families with young children with epilepsy, suffering life-threatening seizures, and what they have to go through on a daily basis,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
The Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill 2016 was referred to parliament’s health committee for consideration.
Its introduction comes a day after a three-year-old Cairns girl lost her battle with cancer after being given cannabis oil in 2014 by her desperate father, who was charged and fined.