Monitoring and control
The Queensland controls around medicinal cannabis balance allowing treatment with medicinal cannabis and the necessary controls to ensure medicinal cannabis products are not used illegally.
These controls are consistent with other legislation
Unlawful use penalty
A person who performs, or attempts to perform, a regulated activity (for example, possessing, obtaining or selling medicinal cannabis) without authorisation under the Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Act 2016 will be subject to a maximum penalty of 750 penalty units ($91,425).
Authorised persons can be appointed with the authority to enter places (pharmacies, medical practices) to monitor compliance with the conditions upon which medicinal cannabis treatment has been authorised or approved. An authorised person is also empowered to seize evidence of an offence against the Act.
If an authorised person or a police officer finds a person in possession of a cannabis product, they can determine if the product is an authorised medicinal cannabis product by:
- checking the label of the product packaging: medicinal cannabis dispensed legally will be labelled as a lawful prescription from a pharmacy
- contacting the prescriber and pharmacist who dispensed the medication to determine the validity of the prescription
- checking with Queensland Health: records are held for patients who have been prescribed medicinal cannabis
Clause 210(c) of the Act authorises the chief executive, approved pharmacist or secondary dispenser, patient-class prescriber, or single-patient prescriber to disclose this information to an authorised person or police officer for the purpose of preventing or investigating an offence involving medicinal cannabis.
Illegal cannabis use
Growing your own cannabis and recreational use of cannabis is still illegal under:
- Commonwealth Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (Cwlth)
- Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 (Cwlth)
- Queensland Drugs Misuse Act 1986
- Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996
- Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Act 2016 (Qld)
Users of illicit cannabis may be subject to drug offences under the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 including unlawful possession, supply, production and trafficking of a dangerous drug. The maximum penalties for these crimes range from 15 to 25 years imprisonment, depending on the amount of cannabis involved and the circumstances of the offence.
Medicinal cannabis is only legal if prescribed by a doctor with the necessary state and Commonwealth approvals. Any use beyond the prescribed way of using the drug becomes an offence and may attract both administrative and criminal penalties. The approvals may be withdrawn and the matter referred to police for investigation.
- the prescribed medicinal cannabis is given to an unauthorised third party
- medicinal cannabis that is prescribed to be vaporised but is then smoked may be considered an offence.