• Homegrown Marijuana Plant

Homegrown Marijuana Plant (Photo : Reuters/Andres Stapff)

Australia's government has announced that it plans to legalize the growing of marijuana for either medical or scientific purposes. Health Minister Sussan Ley announced that the Liberal Party would submit a proposal to alter the Narcotics Drugs Act, which would allow the federal government to regulate the supply and safety of pot for patients who could benefit from medicinal cannabis.

Like Us on Facebook

The change to the legislation would allow for "controlled" growing of marijuana plants. Ley stated that the government had compassion for Australians who would benefit from medicinal marijuana.

Australian laws already allow for the cultivation and supply of medical cannabis products in the country. However, no system exists to produce a safe and legal local supply, according to Mashable.

Ley argued that cannabis should be regulated with the same safety standards as common prescription medications. That includes prescription painkillers.

The public push to allow access to medicinal cannabis has been gaining steam lately. A petition to decriminalize the use of medical marijuana was launched at Change.org.

It has already racked up over 246,500 supporters. The petition was started by retired nurse Lucy Haslam, whose son Daniel used medical marijuana to reduce the painful symptoms of cancer before dying in February, according to CNN.

Supporters of cannabis' legalization argue that it could help to reduce the suffering of thousands of Australians with severe medical conditions and diseases. The proposed change to the Narcotics Drugs Act will likely pass as both Labor and Greens have supported medicinal pot in the past.

However, the Australian Greens' leader Richard Di Natale argued that the government's proposal did not take enough action to make the drug more accessible. It failed to remove the "bureaucratic barriers."

Some Australian states already have a "gray law" for medicinal marijuana. Police can allow its use for people with terminal illnesses.

In 2013 Uruguay became the world's first country to legalize the growing, distribution, and smoking of marijuana, in an attempt to make the plant less profitable for criminals in the South American country. Some marijuana advocates are even pushing for the international legalization of cannabis.