Queensland to lead the way in medicinal cannabis legislation

Published Tuesday, 10 May, 2016 at 12:51 PM


Premier and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
The Honourable Cameron Dick

The Palaszczuk Government will today introduce landmark medicinal cannabis legislation into Queensland Parliament.

The Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill 2016 was released for public consultation on March 1 and has seen 1052 members of the public submit feedback via an online survey.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the introduction of the legislation was another milestone for those who have campaigned tirelessly for changes that will allow access to medicinal cannabis.

“I have been moved by the stories of families with young children with epilepsy, suffering life-threatening seizures, and what they have to go through on a daily basis,” the Premier said.

“This legislation will provide a transparent and robust regulatory framework to manage access to medicinal cannabis.

“It has been informed by consultation with medical specialists and stakeholder groups, Hospital and Health Services and importantly members of the public and potential recipients.”

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said feedback from Queenslanders showed overwhelming support for medicinal cannabis.

“Of the more than 1000 people who had their say, 96 per cent were in favour of medicinal cannabis as a treatment option,” he said.

“Targeted consultation was also conducted with key stakeholders and again, there was strong support for the proposed legislation.

“Queenslanders have sent our government a strong message, we have listened, and by presenting this Bill to Parliament we are moving towards delivering for them.”

Mr Dick said the Bill would not only create the most progressive laws in the country, but also set up a robust framework to ensure medicinal cannabis products are prescribed and dispensed safely.

Under current Commonwealth Government legislation, individual patients will still need to seek authority from the Therapeutic Goods Administration to allow for the legal importation of medicinal cannabis into Australia. This is done under the special access scheme.

The Commonwealth Government is considering a proposal to change the way cannabis for medicinal purposes is scheduled. The Bill allows for these changes, establishing the capacity to authorise certain doctors to prescribe cannabis products to their patients.

The proposed legislation builds on Australia’s first medically-supervised approval for the prescription and use of medicinal cannabis which was recently granted by the Queensland Government.

The approval, granted under the Health (Dugs and Poisons) Regulation by the Director-General of Queensland Health, is based on the recommendations of a panel of clinical experts who have provided advice on the applications of medicinal cannabis.

Mr Dick said the approval cleared the way for medicinal cannabis oil capsules to be administered to a Queensland patient following approval for importation from the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

“This is an Australian first. The granting of this approval represents the first, legal, medically-supervised application of medicinal cannabis in this country,” he said.

“It’s important to note that this approval is specific to an individual patient and does not constitute an open approval for use of medicinal cannabis in Queensland.

“This approval also carries with it strict conditions developed in consultation with an expert panel.”

These conditions include a requirement that only one week’s supply be dispensed at any one time and that monthly reports be provided to Queensland Health by the treatment team about the patient’s response to the medication.

“While the Palaszczuk Government wants to make medicinal cannabis available to the community, we also want to do so safely,” Mr Dick said.

“As demand for this type of treatment increases, a more specific and transparent clinical framework will be required to ensure a patient’s safety.

“That’s why I’m introducing new legislation to Parliament today – to provide that framework.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Fraser 0428 690 679