Western Australia Supports Medicinal Cannabis

Medicinal cannabis in Western Australia
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Western Australia has welcomed medicinal cannabis as a controlled prescription drug from November 1; but has been quick to clarify its stance.

Among Australia’s states and territories, Western Australia has been rather quiet on the medical cannabis front.

In September, Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)  announced cannabis scheduling changes will be implemented in the November 2016 Poisons Standard.

New Schedule 8 listings for cannabis and tetrahydrocannabinols will be activated from November 1. Schedule 8 includes medications such as dexamphetamine and morphine, so controls will be tight.

Cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating cannabinoid,  is included in Schedule 4 of the Poisons Standard; in instances where preparations contain 2 per cent or less of other cannabinoids (such as THC).

The news has given hope to some West Australians; including Banksia Grove parents Lyndon and Nicole Poulter who have been battling for access to medicinal cannabis to treat their daughter Lily’s pain.

Western Australia’s support of the new legislation comes with various warnings and disclaimers.

“Like all controlled drugs, medicinal cannabis will be prescription only, with strict rules around prescribing,” said Health Minister John Day.

“Medical practitioners will be at the centre of all treatment decisions and patients will need to discuss their situation with their treating doctor.”

Minister Day stressed that raw cannabis and the smoking of cannabis will not qualify as medicinal marijuana.

Regardless, several cannabis companies with their eye on the state have welcomed the WA Government’s decision to allow doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis; with at least one company to establish its horticultural and manufacturing production in the state.

While specialist doctors in the state will be able to prescribe products made from Australian-grown cannabis from Tuesday, it’s expected none will be available until early next year. The reason for this is potential growers and manufacturers aren’t able apply for permission to commence operations until November 1 as well – and the scheme will be heavily regulated.

However, it will be possible to legally import medicinal cannabis before then as long as a doctor prescribes it and any product meets all State and Commonwealth laws – including approval from the TGA and the Heath Department.