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Australia Legalizes Medical Marijuana

It's not clear when patients can pick it up
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2016 6:30 PM CST
Australia Legalizes Medical Marijuana
In this Dec. 27, 2013 file photo, an employee trims away unneeded leaves from pot plants, harvesting the plant's buds to be packaged and sold at Medicine Man marijuana dispensary, in Denver.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file)

(Newser) – Medical marijuana is now legal in Australia. Parliament passed a measure Wednesday with amendments to the Narcotic Drugs Act that will allow marijuana to be grown for scientific and medical reasons, CNN reports. "This is an historic day for Australia and the many advocates who have fought long and hard to challenge the stigma around medicinal cannabis products so genuine patients are no longer treated as criminals," Australia's health minister says in a statement.

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It's not clear when patients with a prescription will be able to actually get cannabis, as regulations need to be instituted and producers need to apply for licenses. One expert says medicinal marijuana could start being grown within a month, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Recreational marijuana is still illegal in Australia. (Read more medical marijuana stories.)

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