2013/10: Should marijuana be legally available for medical purposes?

Introduction to the media issue

Video clip at right:
On June 1, 2012, the ABC ran a news report detailing a trial being conducted in New South Wales on the efficacy of cannabis as a treatment for cancer sufferers. If you cannot see this clip, it will be because video is blocked by your network. To view the clip, access from home or from a public library, or from another network which allows viewing of video clips.

What they said...
'Why do I need to commit a criminal act to help myself when so many countries ... have embraced the values of marijuana for medical purposes? If the politicians won't let me die with dignity, at least let me live with some'
'Stuart' one of the case studies referred to in the report of the New South Wales Committee investigating medical marijuana

'Although cannabis may cause an immediate euphoric feeling, for a large group in the population its use can lead to an increase of depressive symptoms in the longer term'
Daily Science report, October 13, 2011

The issue at a glance
On May 15, 2013, it was announced that a New South Wales committee had recommended that the use of marijuana be legalised for medical purposes by people with cancer, AIDS or other terminal illnesses.
If the recommendation is approved by the New South Wales government, patients with specific conditions, certified by their specialist doctor, would be allowed to possess and use up to 15 grams of dry cannabis.
The committee's chair, National party upper house member Sarah Mitchel, stated that it was appropriate and compassionate to allow a very small and specific group of people to smoke marijuana.
Opponents of the legalisation of recreational drugs have expressed concern that allowing marijuana to be used for medical purposes could make it more difficult to prevent its use in other contexts.
The New South Wales Government has indicated it is unlikely to allow terminally ill people to legally use small amounts of marijuana, despite the cross-party parliamentary committee unanimously recommending this move.