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ACT the latest to allow medicinal cannabis

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The Australian Capital Territory has become the latest jurisdiction to move towards allowing medicinal cannabis.

On 1 August, doctors in NSW became the first in Australia to be allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis for their patients, following trials. Three days later, the ACT Government announced it would establish a medicinal cannabis scheme.

Federal parliament passed legislation earlier this year, making it legal to grow marijuana under licence.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) recently issued an interim decision to reschedule cannabis from Schedule 9 (prohibited substance) to Schedule 8 (controlled drug) of the Poisons Standard.

The ACT is moving straight to establishing a medicinal cannabis scheme, rather than starting with a trial.

Assistant Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris said the ACT Government was working to develop a considered and consistent framework to support the scheme as soon as possible.

“Establishing a Medicinal Cannabis Scheme in the ACT is a priority for the ACT Government, but we need to do it in a way that is evidence-based and that supports people when they are at their most vulnerable,” Ms Fitzharris said.

“Now the Commonwealth has acted, we can establish a scheme in the ACT that will treat medicinal cannabis products in the same manner as we treat other medicines.

“At the moment, there are no clinical guidelines on what types of conditions medicinal cannabis can and should be prescribed for.

“The ACT Government will develop evidence-based guidelines to inform and support medical practitioners in how to best prescribe medicinal cannabis products.”

It is unlikely that the scheme will be in place before the Territory election in October. But the Liberal Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson has said that, if elected, a Liberal Government would establish a medicinal cannabis scheme.

Victoria has legalised medical marijuana from next year for patients with severe childhood epilepsy. Tasmania will also legalise its use for a broader range of conditions.

In Queensland, children with severe drug-resistant epilepsy can take part in a medicinal cannabis clinical trial.

Maria Hawthorne

 

 

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