While federal legislation now allows for medicinal cannabis to be grown, manufactured, and prescribed in Australia, it's currently in fairly short supply. Many patients are still forced to obtain their treatments illegally, with the country's low domestic output and restrictions on imports.
But that all may be about to change. The federal health minister, Greg Hunt, announced Tuesday that the government is trying 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," Hunt wrote in a Facebook status. "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 supply chain for legal weed. First, weed grown in Australia will no longer be allowed to be exported out of the country, and secondly, the Department of Health will now allow domestic cannabis importers to source supplies from overseas without an authorized doctor specifically asking them to do so for a specific patient.
The Office of Drug Control estimates that within just 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 pot supply will increase, citizens will 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 regulations.
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