How far should Australia go on legalising cannabis?

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How far should Australia go on legalising cannabis?

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"http://www.9news.com.au/national/2014/1 ... alia-adopt

9 News - 9:51am December 23, 2014

VOTE: How far should Australia go on legalising cannabis?

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Medical marijuana is looking more likely to be introduced in NSW. (AAP)

It appears to be just a matter of time before cannabis is legalised in some form within Australia, but state legislators are now faced with the choice of how far they should go.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has come forward with his desire to legalise medical cannabis in his state, while the NSW government is presiding over a medical trial in which marijuana is given to seriously ill people, including children suffering severe epilepsy.

Mr Andrews said it was time to drag marijuana laws "into the 21st century".

It appears to be just a matter of time before cannabis is legalised in some form within Australia, but state legislators are now faced with the choice of how far they should go.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has come forward with his desire to legalise medical cannabis in his state, while the NSW government is presiding over a medical trial in which marijuana is given to seriously ill people, including children suffering severe epilepsy.

Mr Andrews said it was time to drag marijuana laws "into the 21st century".

"Parents shouldn't have to choose between breaking the law and watching their children suffer," he said.

"Children are in pain, families are suffering, people are living in fear and outdated laws are getting in the way."

Canberra's Calvary Hospital emergency department head David Caldicott has backed attempts to legalise medical cannabis, but senior doctors who back full legalisation are difficult to find, with doctors warning of the dangers of street marijuana.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has also endorsed the use of medical marijuana.

The NSW and Victorian governments have said there is no plan to completely legalise marijuana, as has taken place in the US state of Colorado.

Countries around the world have taken different stances on the criminal status of the plant.

In the US, Alaska, Oregon and Washington have completely legalised marijuana, following Colorado's lead.

Cannabis is also used for medical purposes in 18 US states.

The Netherlands, particularly its capital city Amsterdam, is famed the world over for a lenient stance on cannabis, but the drug is actually illegal in the country.

However, possession of small amounts is not prosecuted and marijauna is available for purchase in special coffee shops.

In Canada, medical marijuana is available to approved patients, who are also allowed to grow the plant.

Portugal in the early 2000s decriminalised cannabis, making possession and limited use a medical rather than a criminal matter.

People found with marijuana in the country can be forced to attend a clinic, rather than be prosecuted.

How far should Australia go in legalising cannabis?

Full legalisation - 83% 4716 votes

Legalise medicinal cannabis - 7% 395 votes

Cannabis should be decriminalised - 8% 434 votes

No legalisation - 2% 115 votes"

*figures shown were reported at 19.35 on 27/12/2014



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