Public Comment Invited On Queensland Medical Cannabis Bill

Queensland medical cannabis bill
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The Queensland Government has released its Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill 2016 for public consultation, plus a new related report.

“This Bill will create the most progressive laws in the country,” said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in an announcement earlier today. “We are setting up a robust framework to ensure medicinal cannabis products can be prescribed and dispensed to patients in Queensland.”

The Bill would enable doctors to apply for access to prescribing medicinal cannabis products approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

“There are patients out there right now who may benefit from some relief that can be delivered through medicinal cannabis,” said Minister for Health, Cameron Dick .”We understand this is substantial reform which is why we are putting out the Bill for community consultation today.”

Feedback on the Bill must be received by April 1, 2016.

The online consultation feedback form is available on the Queensland Government Get Involved website.

The Queensland Government recently amended the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 to approve the use of medicinal cannabis products in clinical trials or for individuals who have the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) blessing. However, a more comprehensive regulatory framework is required to effectively dispense and regulate use.

A key objective of the Bill according to the Government is to minimise the amount of red tape patients, medical practitioners and pharmacists face currently; while ensuring the quality, safety and efficacy of medical cannabis products where possible.

The Bill does not include regulations concerning cultivation, manufacture or supply of medical marijuana as these are issues dealt with by national legislation that was recently passed.

The Queensland Government also today published a report (PDF) titled “An overview of medicinal cannabis: Current state of play in 2016”.  The report details issues related to medicinal cannabis, including potential health benefits, the market and key industry products and legislative issues.

“With the use of medicinal cannabis increasing worldwide, the medicinal cannabis market could represent new opportunities for the Queensland agriculture industry,” states the document. “Queensland’s experience in growing industrial hemp may provide valuable lessons in the future.”

Industrial hemp is a cousin of what is generally referred to as medical marijuana and has very low levels of THC, the intoxicating compound. However, it can contain commercial quantities of cannabidiol, a highly prized and non-intoxicating beneficial cannabinoid.

While commercial production of industrial hemp fibre and seed has been possible in Queensland for some time, the licenses don’t permit the cultivation of hemp for medicinal use. Stephen Bennett MP last month voiced his support for growing hemp also for medical applications.