Australian Federal government relaxes importing laws for medicinal marijuana
Australian Federal government relaxes importing laws for medicinal marijuana. While Australian domestic cultivation of medical cannabis became legal in 2016, patients have trouble accessing a supply. Changes to importation laws allow Australian patients access to medicinal cannabis within 8 weeks.
Australian Federal Government relaxes importing laws medicinal marijuana
This is an interim measure until Australian production can meet demand. Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said approved importers could buy medicinal cannabis products overseas to import into Australia for sale.
Delay’s For Imported Medical Cannabis
Currently patients have to wait for medial cannabis to arrive from overseas after their doctors prescribes it. Patients cannot just take a prescription to a chemist to get it filled. Doctors import medicinal cannabis on a patient-by-patient basis. This involves a heap of paperwork for approval through the Therapeutic Goods Association and the state health department. The government requires evidence the patient meets the criteria and proof the patient will benefit. Then it has to be available overseas. Meaning those who need it can wait for up to 8 weeks for their marijuana treatment.
This latest government initiative allows easier access to import medical cannabis. But it must come from government approved suppliers for bulk importation and storage in Australia. This makes it available quickly to the people who need it.
Australian federal government legalised medicinal cannabis
When the federal government legalised medicinal cannabis, it left it to the states to legislate its cultivation and supply. Victoria was the first to legislate its cultivation and has already harvested the first crop intended for medical use for people with severe epilepsy.
Mr Hunt said recently they issued the first licence to a private program to develop a long-term medical supply. “Ultimately this is about the Government doing the right thing under the strictest conditions. Safety and quality are paramount,” he said.
This initiative is only intended to stay in place until Australia has developed its own industry to supply local demand. This could be a few years with the first private licence only being issued recently. Australian Federal government relaxes importing laws for medicinal marijuana effective in 8 weeks.
Where in Australia is medical cannabis legal?
The cannabis debate is confusing. New federal legislation relaxing the importation of medicinal cannabis is welcome by terminal patients who rely on it for their quality of life. Just to make it clear, the cultivation and selling of cannabis for recreational use is still illegal. Nothing has changed. This only affects the laws surrounding importing cannabis for sale. And, only for specific patients have access.
Australian Federal Government
In 2016, the Australian federal government passed legislation to legalise growing marijuana for medical use. The legislation only allows access to cannabis through trials and special access programs by accredited prescribers.
New South Wales
In July 2016, the NSW premier granted compassionate access to medical cannabis treatment to 40 of the state’s children worst affected by drug resistant epilepsy. NSW is also trialing medial cannabis as a treatment for patients affected by nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.
Medical marijuana is legal in Victoria. It was the first state to pass legislation to legalise using medical marijuana.
From March, 2017, specialist doctors can prescribe medical marijuana to treat their patients. Other doctors can apply to the Queensland Health department for the right to prescribe marijuana for patients with prescribed illnesses.
A South Australian representative has said they have no intention of changing the laws.
Tasmanian doctors can prescribe medical cannabis to patients with serious and chronic illnesses starting in 2017.
The West Australian government said it was waiting for the outcomes of the NSW medical cannabis trials before considering allowing trials in that state.
Medical cannabis is not legal in the Northern Territory.
While long time medical cannabis campaigner, Lucy Haslam, says this is a great move, she said there were still issues for patients getting access to medicinal cannabis. She lost her son Dan to bowel cancer almost 2 years ago, in NSW. He was using cannabis to treat his symptoms before he died.
Ms Haslam said while making the importation process easier, getting access to an authorised medicinal prescriber was tough. There is a disconnect between patients looking for and finding an authorised doctor to prescribe medicinal cannabis. The problem is doctors are not allowed to advertise they are an authorised medical cannabis prescriber. This is something the government can fix with ease.
Australian Medical Association wants more data
Australian Medical Association has cautioned its members about prescribing medicinal cannabis. Its vice-president, Tony Bartone said doctors were waiting for the results of reliable clinical trials.
While Australia advances its approach to medical cannabis, it may be too late for some patients if they cannot access what they need.
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