Australia, like many other countries in the world, is currently giving a certain amount of measured thought to the heady issue of medical marijuana.

Yes or no? Should medicinal cannabis be legally available to those who require it? Do the benefits outweigh the effects?

Admittedly, marijuana appears to improve some people's quality of life by easing pain and assisting relaxation but, the question is, at what expense?

Not many Doctors, or anyone else for that matter, would hand on heart, defend, endorse or even excuse the drawing of raw, hot smoke into your lungs, apparently the most effective method of procedure. It's unequivocally not a good idea as many thousands of ex cigarette smokers with early morning hacking coughs will readily testify.

But, marijuana? Different from tobacco?

Well, maybe.

After all, no one in recent times has come forward to claim any medicinal qualities for straight cigarettes. Not recently, anyway. Unambiguously, tobacco is bad for you, end of story.

It clogs up your lungs, stinks your breath and worst of all, is a major contributory factor in instigating heart attacks, strokes and numerous types of cancer. It's official.

Cannabis, on the other hand, is proven to be effective as a relaxant and pain reliever. And whilst, there may well be some less attractive side effects, in certain situations, it seems to work.

So, will Australia embrace medical marijuana? Is it a go-er, here in a country where marijuana grows on the roadside like, well, a weed? Where there's a quite significant and relatively successful marijuana political lobby?

Nope. Not a chance.

No Australian politician - pollies they're called here, would have the required chutzpah to advocate such a move. Unfortunately, for those of us who live here, the current political climate is more right wing than Jinky Johnstone. Anything at all coming out of the left field would be shot down in flames quicker than you can say 'Tony Abbott'. It just won't happen.

Not that it's any more likely to occur in Scotland, for that matter. Recently questioned on that old chestnut - 'have you ever smoked a joint?' the politicians who deigned to answer claimed it had only ever been the once, for a dare and that, even then, it had made them feel sick.

Not exactly medicinal, then.

As far as politicians are concerned, marijuana is a dangerous drug. As, indeed, are most drugs, substances, stimulants and refreshments, if you abuse them.

Dangerous and in the case of alcohol, far and away the most dangerous of them all, responsible for more crime, misery and heartache than all the other substances put together.

And, of course, perfectly legal.

Not too many years ago, I worked as the Probation Officer in the town of Nimbin on the far North Coast of New South Wales. Once a farming community, Nimbin is now considered to be Australia's marijuana Capital.

Every year, Nimbin hosts a shamelessly extravagant celebration of all things pot called The Mardi-Grass, featuring events such as speed joint rolling, throwing the bong and an 'Iron persons Challenge' - lugging a 40kg sack of fertiliser and a bucket of water around a simulated planting area obstacle course 3 kilometres long.

It's not entirely serious, as is indicated by the rule which state that the top five in each category, will then 'crawl into the final'.

People, by no means all of them crazed stoners, come from all over the world to The Mardi Grass. The year I was there, the winner of the adverse weather joint roll category was Big Ped from Yoker, who told me he honed his skills whilst travelling on the old Renfrew Ferry. As you might have guessed, it's a fun day out.

Though, having said that, Nimbin, I can tell you, does have its fair share of crime.

On a Saturday night, it can get more than a little tousy, with the tiny main street being the site for so many fistfights and contretemps , it's known locally as 'Madison Square Gardens'.

You know what though? The major indicative factor in the occasional bedlam is the amount of booze served up in the local pub.

Stoners, it seems, rarely fight.

They're nearly always too busy pinned to the couch, eating Pringles and considering various conspiracy theories.

Medical cannabis appears to assist people with serious ailments. It may well be psychosomatic but if you're ill and something - anything - seems to make you feel better, surely that's all that matter.

Cannabis helps you relax. Not exactly much of a motivator, it inspires you to do not much more than listen to some music from your glory days, maybe watch a cartoon or an old film you've seen millions of times before or just sit down and have a good laugh.

Occasionally, it inspires you to talk absolute, mind bogglingly pish but rarely, if ever, does it instigates violent conduct, physical contention and bare knuckle fighting.

It may possess a few not particularly attractive side effects and consequences but far less, it could be argued than that perfectly legal, ubiquitously available, dangerous toxin called alcohol.

Should cannabis be made legal?

For many - and I'm one of them - it's a no brainer.