The government of Australia has announced its readiness to approve cannabis use for medical reasons, but never for recreational purposes; and for this purpose, the National Drugs Act 1967 might have to be amended to allow for the local growing of marijuana for medical use only.

Marijuana or cannabis is an illegal drug in Australia, and people could be fined or jailed for using it, growing it, selling it, or just possessing it for whatever reasons. Australia is a signatory to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, and would not allow this improvement to its drug law breach that convention.

“This Government is incredibly sympathetic to the suffering of those Australians with debilitating illnesses and we want to enable access to the most effective medical treatments available,” Health Minister Sussan Ley said in a statement.

Several groups of people from across the country have been campaigning to allow medical patients access to the plant if it is proven that it will improve their condition, saying it is unfair to punish patients for using cannabis if it is the only thing proposed for their wellbeing.

Since campaigners have been lobbying to have patients gain access to medical marijuana two years ago, over 246,000 people have signed a petition on to decriminalize the drug.

Retired nurse Lucy Haslam was the first to start the campaign after the death of her son Daniel earlier this year – he had relied on marijuana to deal with pains associated with terminal bowel cancer. Haslam said her 25-year-old son tried to use cannabis and experienced dramatic improvements after another cancer patient got much better by using the drug.

She said the patient gained an appetite, overcame his nausea and had his vomiting disappear while also maintaining his weight through the course of his treatments. Haslam started the campaign group “United in Compassion” so as to rally support for legalized medical marijuana.

Health Minister Ley disclosed that Australia would sure consider approving marijuana for medical use, but would never legalize it for recreational or social use because it remains a classified drug in the country.