CANBERRA, Australia — Australian lawmakers committed on Wednesday to legalize the growing of marijuana for medical use within a part of the world renowned for zero-tolerance and harsh penalties for illegal drugs.

The government introduced a bill to Parliament that would amend the Narcotics Drugs Act 1967 and create a licensing scheme for growing medicinal cannabis.

Marijuana is currently illegal throughout Australia, but two states are considering making the drug available for therapeutic uses.

“This government understands that there are some Australians suffering from severe conditions for which cannabis may have applications and we want to enable access to the most effective medical treatments available,” Health Minister Sussan Ley told Parliament.

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Rod McGuirk - Associated Press ~

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