Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has thrown his support behind the legalisation of marijuana for medicinal use, the media reported on Wednesday.
“I have no problem with the medical use of marijuana, just as I have no problem with the medical use of opiates,” Mr. Abbott wrote to talkback radio host Alan Jones in a letter dated Aug 23, Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Mr. Jones read out the letter from Mr. Abbott — who has not commented publicly on the issue before — on his 2GB breakfast programme on Wednesday.
Mr. Jones has been campaigning on behalf of Dan Haslam, a cancer patient, who has been using marijuana to relieve nausea associated with chemotherapy to treat his terminal cancer. The Prime Minister’s intervention was welcomed by Mr. Haslam’s mother, Lucy, who has launched a popular online petition to decriminalise marijuana for pain relief.
Earlier, The Uniting Church had also urged the Western Australian government to consider legalising marijuana for medicinal use. The New South Wales government announced on Tuesday that a clinical trial into medical marijuana will report back to the government by the end of the year.
In the U.S., Colorado and Washington have legalised the sale of marijuana for medical and recreational use.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Abbott confirmed the letter reflected his views on the issue.