For release: 16 March 2015

The Australian Christian Lobby has backed the use of medicinal marijuana subject to it fulfilling the same testing requirements applied to any other drug for medical purposes.

On Friday the ACL lodged its submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on medicinal cannabis trials.

ACL Managing Director, Lyle Shelton said, “While the harms of recreational cannabis use are well-documented, there appears to be anecdotal evidence that cannabis has positive medicinal qualities. If cannabis has a genuine palliative effect that other drugs cannot provide, it should be available to patients in the same way other medications are.”

Mr Shelton said cannabis must undergo the same testing standards as any other new medicine and he would be surprised if this led to a situation where it could be grown privately and self-medicated without a doctor’s prescription.

“As Schizophrenia and other mental illnesses are common with recreational cannabis use, any trial must ensure public safety is a first consideration should cannabis be approved for medical use.

“I hope that in the same way ingredients from heroin were used for pain relief, that properties from cannabis could also be harvested for relieving suffering.” Mr Shelton said.