New laws speed access to medicinal cannabis


The potential for hemp to become an alternative crop in the Bundaberg Region has been further enhanced after Parliament yesterday passed laws that give patients faster access to medicinal cannabis.

The new laws speed up the prescription process.

Medicinal cannabis
New laws will give seriously ill patients faster access to medicinal cannabis. Source: UQ

Medicinal cannabis will now be treated the same as other drugs of addiction (schedule 8 medicines) or prescription drugs (schedule 4).

“The Government is committed to improving pathways for Queensland patients to access medicinal cannabis and this new legislation joins some of the most progressive laws in the country,” Health Minister Steven Miles said.

“This law change will significantly streamline the prescription process by removing state-level approval and will ensure patients have access to the treatment they need sooner.”

In 2015 the Government enabled doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis to patients.

“Now that the treatment has progressed, it makes sense for a nationally consistent approach and for the Therapeutic Goods Administration to take carriage of the prescription process,” Mr Miles said.

“There are several companies working towards having medical cannabis products produced locally in Queensland.

“I look forward to following their progress in taking their products to market. This will help improve access for people and reduce costs for these increasingly important medicines.”

Non-specialist medical practitioners will still require a state-based approval for schedule 8 Medicinal cannabis.

The Federal Government will maintain strict controls on the use of unapproved therapeutic goods through the Commonwealth licensing and approval system. It will remain illegal for the Queensland public to grow cannabis for medical purposes.

Member for Burnett, Stephen Bennett, said the LNP supports the health benefits of medicinal cannabis when it's overseen by medical practitioners to help patients where there is evidence that it will help treat certain conditions.

“We have all had advocacy in our electorates because we understand that medicinal cannabis may be suitable to treat things like severe muscular spasms and other symptoms of multiple sclerosis; chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting; some types of epilepsy with severe seizures; and palliative care, where there is loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and pain,” Mr Bennett said.

“I want to thank John Hall, the director of Agri Fibre Industries in Bundaberg.

“After 20 years of developing hemp and medicinal cannabis technologies and research, he agrees with the streamlining of the process to take away the duplication and unnecessary over-regulation of the medicinal cannabis sector.

“We need to work hard to make sure the region will see the benefits of using hemp as a rotational crop.”