November 01, 2018, Australia
Australia legalized the medical uses of marijuana two years ago. However, access to the therapeutic strain remains embroiled in bureaucratic red tape which makes it a lengthy and exhaustive process for the patients. Many Australians have got frustrated and lost the hope in the MMJ program. A while ago, the administration introduced an online application system for the convenience of the patients. But the situation on the ground suggests otherwise.
The access system of the MMJ program has been recently discussed in a seminar held at the University of Sydney. The seminar was organized to talk about the experience and the challenges faced by all the stakeholder of the country’s MMJ industry. Nonetheless, the discussion kept on revolving around the difficult accessibility to the strain. One can have a better idea regarding this obnoxious access pathway by the fact that even industry experts couldn’t explain all that multilayered and multifaceted procedures.
It is interesting to note that the government maintains that they have eased out the licensing process. As per the deputy secretary for products regulation at the country’s Health Department, they have streamlined the MMJ licensing process for patients with 48-hour turnaround digital portals.
On the other hand, an MMJ advocate and former nurse told the audience that her phone got crammed with messages and calls from patients who couldn’t get through the faulty online portal. Then there were many who shared their anecdotes of resorting to the black market because they couldn’t get MMJ through legal means. Interestingly, only a single person in the audience claimed that it was easy to get your hands on the strain through legal channels.
Recently, Stephen Taylor closely evaded the prison time for extracting cannabis oil to treat his daughters suffering from Chron’s disease. While talking to media, the man shared his ordeal in finding certified physicians and legal MMJ for the treatment of his daughters. As the last resort, he started cultivating the strain on his own, which eventually landed him into trouble.
Stephen Taylor and his family are now contemplating to fly to the US in search of easy-to-get medical marijuana. Thirty U.S states have their own medical marijuana programs standing on local legislation. On the federal level, the strain is continued to be classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.
Another media report suggests that on average the health department is only approving seven applications a day. This fact alone suggests how laborious and time-consuming the process is. Failing to make a seamless and streamlined access system will only help the already established black market to grow further.
Legalization of marijuana, whether it’s for therapeutic or recreational uses, effectively damages the outreach of the black market. Many on the ground implementations suggest that legalization can act more effectively than law enforcement machinery to curb down the illicit drug market. We can only hope that the Australian government understands the advantageous repercussions of easy legal access to improve the delivery of MMJ to the patients.
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