Accommodating the Medical Use of Marijuana: Surveying the Differing Legal Approaches in Australia, the United States and Canada

Journal of Law and Medicine, Vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 508-531, 2010

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/63

38 Pages Posted: 26 May 2010 Last revised: 28 Jul 2010

Tony Bogdanoski

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: February 14, 2010

Abstract

While the scientific and medical communities continue to be divided on the therapeutic benefits and risks of cannabis use, anecdotal evidence from medical users themselves suggests that using cannabis is indeed improving their quality of life by alleviating their pain and discomfort. Notwithstanding the benefits anecdotally claimed by these medical users and the existence of some scientific studies confirming their claims, criminal drug laws in all Australian and most United States jurisdictions continue to prohibit the possession, cultivation and supply of cannabis even for medical purposes. However, in contrast to Australia and most parts of the United States, the medical use of cannabis has been legal in Canada for about a decade. This article reviews these differing legal and regulatory approaches to accommodating the medical use of cannabis (namely, marijuana) as well as some of the challenges involved in legalising it for medical purposes.

Keywords: Illicit drugs, marijuana, medicine, legalisation

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K32

Suggested Citation

Bogdanoski, Tony, Accommodating the Medical Use of Marijuana: Surveying the Differing Legal Approaches in Australia, the United States and Canada (February 14, 2010). Journal of Law and Medicine, Vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 508-531, 2010; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/63. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1552690

Tony Bogdanoski (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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