Role of the Commonwealth and state governments
The responsibility for regulating medicinal cannabis is shared between the Commonwealth and the states and territories.
Role of the Commonwealth
In Australia, responsibility for regulating medicines and poisons is shared between the Commonwealth and the states and territories:
- Commonwealth controls what drugs may be used for therapeutic purposes
- individual state or territory regulate patient access to these drugs.
All therapeutic goods and products must be approved for use by the Commonwealth, either:
- registered on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG)
- approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for treatment of a particular patient or class of patient.
Most medicinal cannabis products are unapproved therapeutic goods as they have not been listed on the ARTG. Therefore, the treating doctor must obtain approval from the TGA to access the medicinal cannabis products to be used in a patients’ treatment.
In Queensland, any medical doctor is able to prescribe medicinal cannabis to a patient they believe will benefit from its use in their treatment provided they hold a TGA approval for the product for that patient.
As with other controlled drugs a Queensland approval is required for those cases where the patient is considered a drug dependent person and is seeking access to schedule 8 medicinal cannabis.