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Guide for pharmacists dispensing medicinal cannabis

A patient or their medical practitioner or nurse practitioner may approach your pharmacy to assist with dispensing an approved medicinal cannabis product. Products may include both registered and unregistered medicines.

Generally, for unapproved medicinal cannabis, only stock for a named patient can be held in a pharmacy. However, a pharmacist may hold stock for an Authorised Prescriber (AP) but this stock should only be used for that medical practitioners patients. Only registered medical practitioners can become Authorised Prescribers.

Guidance and regulations

  • In conjunction with the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care, state and territory health departments and universities, guidance documents have the use of medicinal cannabis in Australia are a suite of national guidance documents that cover a range of medical conditions, symptoms, and products to be used. The individual documents can be viewed on the TGA's website.
  • The Departmental Standard – Secure storage of S8 medicines (PDF 306 kB) details how to secure and store medicinal cannabis products, under the regulation.

The Medicines and Poisons Act 2019 and Medicines and Poisons (Medicines) Regulation 2021 describes the requirements for dispensing, recording, packaging, labelling and reporting associated with schedule 4 and schedule 8 medicines (including medicinal cannabis products).

Read more about Prescribing and dispensing unapproved medicinal cannabis (PDF 105 kB)

The dispenser must:


Importation and export of medicinal cannabis products is tightly controlled. The Office of Drug Control provides information on how to access these products.

Departmental Standard – Secure storage of Schedule 8 medicines

Medicinal cannabis products, particularly those containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), have a high diversion value, and must have comprehensive security controls in place to manage this risk.

The Departmental Standard – Secure storage of S8 medicines outlines the requirements for storing Schedule 8 medicines, including schedule 8 medicinal cannabis products. If the medicinal cannabis is a schedule 8 medicine, it must be stored in a way that complies with the Departmental Standard – Secure storage of S8 medicines (PDF 306 kB).

Your legal obligations

As a dispenser, you must:

  • adhere to all conditions as detailed in any TGA import licence or permit, if you are the importing party
  • comply with any conditions imposed on a TGA approval relating to the medicinal cannabis product(s) being used
  • only dispense medicinal cannabis in accordance with a prescription that is lawful in Queensland
  • for schedule 8 medicinal cannabis products, comply with the requirements of the Department Standard Secure storage of S8 medicines (PDF 306 kB)
  • comply with the Guidelines for Dispensing of Medicines published by the Pharmacy Board of Australia
  • comply with all reporting and recording requirements, as set out by the Medicines and Poisons (Medicines) Regulation 2021
  • ensure any excess or unused stock is disposed of and destroyed in line with the requirements under the Medicines and Poisons (Medicines) Regulation 2021
  • report any adverse events, adverse reactions, serious adverse reactions and unexpected reactions to the prescribing health practitioner.

Under the Medicines and Poisons (Medicines) Regulation 2021, community pharmacies and dispensing medical practitioners that dispense S8 medicinal cannabis are required to submit these dispensing records to QScript electronically via a Prescription Exchange Service (PES), along with all other dispensing records for monitored medicines prescriptions.

Read more about Monitored medicine reporting requirements

Read more about Prescribing and dispensing unapproved medicinal cannabis (PDF 105 kB)

Visit Monitored medicines reporting requirements for further information.

Last updated: 5 September 2023