Parliament today passed the Turnbull Government’s legislation delivering what it calls the “missing piece” for Australian patients and their doctors to access a safe, legal and reliable supply of medicinal cannabis products for the management of painful and chronic conditions.
Minister for Health Sussan Ley thanked her Parliamentary colleagues from across both Chambers and the political spectrum for the fast passage of the Government’s legislation in a bipartisan fashion.
“This is an historic day for Australia and the many advocates who have fought long and hard to challenge the stigma around medicinal cannabis products so genuine patients are no longer treated as criminals,” Minister Ley says.
“This is the missing piece in a patient’s treatment journey and will now see seamless access to locally-produced medicinal cannabis products from farm to pharmacy.
“I would particularly like to acknowledge the many patient advocates who have played a tremendous and tireless role in bringing this important issue to the attention of the nation.
“Today’s outcome is a demonstration of this Parliament’s commitment to not only ensure we get access to a safe, legal and reliable supply of medicinal cannabis products for Australian patients, but we also get it right.”
Today’s passing of amendments to the Narcotic Drugs Act will, for the first time, provide a pathway of legally-grown cannabis for the manufacture of suitable medicinal cannabis products in Australia.
“A national regulator will allow the Government to closely track the development of cannabis products for medicinal use from cultivation to supply and curtail any attempts by criminals to get involved,” Ms Ley says.
“The legislation also ensures Australia meets all of its international obligations under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.”
Under this scheme, a patient with a valid prescription can possess and use a medicinal cannabis product manufactured from cannabis plants legally cultivated in Australia, where the supply is appropriately authorised under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 and relevant state and territory legislation.
To support this, Minister Ley also announced the Department of Health, in conjunction with the TGA, was currently well advanced in having cannabis for medicinal purposes considered for down-scheduling to Schedule 8 of the Poisons Schedule.
“This will simplify arrangements around the legal possession of medicinal cannabis products, placing them in the same category as restricted medicines such as morphine, rather than an illicit drug. This will in turn reduce any barriers to access, no matter what state a patient lives in,” the Minister says.