Internship report forms basis of law reform submission

An assignment by an ANU law student – exploring the barriers to using medicinal marijuana in Canberra – has been reframed to become a formal submission to an inquiry being undertaken by the ACT Legislative Assembly.

The assignment, completed during an internship by fifth-year student Nicholas Christodoulou, addressed the domestic and international barriers which could impact legislative amendments of medicinal cannabis in the ACT.

As part of his work, Nicholas explored the legal feasibility of providing medicinal cannabis in the ACT, and if cannabis could potentially make a genuine difference in people’s lives.

“There appears to be scientific evidence which suggests cannabis could be of therapeutic value and treat patients where conventional treatments have been ineffective and I wanted to explore the idea if it was legally feasible to have medicinal cannabis available in the ACT,” Nicholas said.

Through his research, Nicholas has recommended the cultivation of cannabis take place within the ACT, which would be more cost effective and also circumvent any Commonwealth importation restrictions. He also suggests crude cannabis should be supplied to patients through a prescription and administered via a vaporiser.

In addition to his current submission, Nicholas has been asked to provide the Legislative Assembly with another report regarding the potential legal barriers of importing medicinal cannabis into the ACT from NSW where it would be grown.

Nicholas’s submissions to the ACT Legislative Assembly come as part of his participation in a Law Reform and Social Justice internship at the ANU College of Law, where students undertake legal research and provide support for a social justice issue or agency.

Director of Law Reform and Social Justice at the ANU College of Law, Professor Simon Rice, said internships provided students with opportunities to see the law in action, and gain first-hand experience about how the law affected the lives of individuals.

“The internship allows law students to investigate topics of possible law reform in areas which interest them, then apply their legal skills to a real-life issue with the possibility of improving law’s effectiveness and people’s happiness.”

Nicholas said the internship program had allowed him to balance theory with practice, and consider how the knowledge gained through his law degree applied to current issues.

“I sought the opportunity to be a Law Reform and Social Justice intern because it offered flexibility and allowed me to apply my legal skills to an area of research which I have a keen interest in.

“The internship has helped develop my research skills and legal knowledge, and apply practical solutions to a current issue.

“Through the program, I’ve also been fortunate to gain a thorough understanding of an issue which is currently on the legal and social agenda in Australia.”

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Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team