PATIENTS can now legally access medicinal cannabis in Queensland without the fear of being prosecuted after the Palaszczuk Government’s new legislation was unanimously passed by Parliament on Wednesday night.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said The Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill 2016 provided a legitimate pathway for patients of any age and with a range of conditions to access legal medicinal cannabis products.
“This legislation is a milestone for those who have campaigned tirelessly for changes that will allow access to medicinal cannabis,” the Premier said.
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“My Government has been moved by the stories of families with young children with epilepsy, suffering life-threatening seizures, and what they have to go through on a daily basis.
“This legislation provides a transparent and robust regulatory framework to manage access to medicinal cannabis.”
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said the new legislation would allow greater use of medicinal cannabis products for some patients.
“This ground-breaking reform is a game changer for seriously ill patients who often feel compelled to seek out illicit cannabis treatment options,” he said.
“Queensland is leading Australia in providing a pathway to access medicinal cannabis treatment for those who need it most, in a safe, controlled way.
“We understand the importance of providing holistic care to patients and that’s why we have made this treatment available legally.”
The use of medicinal cannabis will be integrated into patient treatment plans and overseen by a medical practitioner, to ensure the right monitoring and controls are in place.
Mr Dick said medicinal cannabis products would still need to be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration before they could be prescribed.
Chair of Health Consumers Queensland Mark Tucker-Evans has welcomed the passing of the Bill.
“We look forward to Queenslanders having the legal means to access medicinal cannabis products where they may be of benefit,” he said.
In 2015, Queensland became the first state in Australia to permit patient access to medicinal cannabis products through amendments to the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996.
An application to allow a Queensland patient to be treated with a medicinal cannabis product has already been granted using these provisions.
The use of cannabis without the appropriate approvals will continue to be illegal in Queensland.