While federal legislation now allows for medicinal cannabis to be grown, manufactured, and prescribed in Australia, it's still in fairly short supply. Victoria is the only state to have successfully harvested its own cannabis crop, but this will only be distributed to a select group of young epilepsy patients. With low domestic supplies and restrictions on imports, many patients are still forced to obtain their treatments illegally.
That may be about to change. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced today that action has been taken to speed up the delivery process to supply more Australians with safe medicinal cannabis products from overseas. "We have listened to the concerns of patients and their families who are having difficulty accessing the product on prescription while domestic production becomes available," the Minister wrote in a Facebook status this morning.
"We are now making it easier to access medicinal cannabis products more rapidly, while still maintaining strict safeguards for individual and community safety."
Several measures have been taken to help speed up the legal weed supply chain. Firstly, domestically grown medicinal cannabis products will no longer be allowed to export outside of Australia. Secondly, the Department of Health will now allow domestic cannabis importers to source supplies from overseas without an authorised doctor specifically asking them to do so for a specific patient.
The Office of Drug Control estimates that within as few as eight weeks, Australians will be able to purchase from a surplus of imported medicinal cannabis from "approved international sources" until domestic suppliers catch up.
Of course, even though this means that Australia's supplies of medicinal cannabis will be on the increase, you'll still need a prescription from an approved doctor to access treatment. Different states have different medicinal marijuana frameworks that will affect a patient's ease of access, varying from Queensland's relatively flexible laws to Victoria's fairly strict ones.
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