Medicinal Marijuana Is Now Legal In Australia

The Narcotic Drugs Amendment Bill 2016, seeking to establish licensing and permit schemes for the cultivation and production of cannabis and cannabis resin for medicinal and scientific purposes, has passed both houses of parliament today.

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A "state or territory government agency" will be authorised to undertake cultivation and production of cannabis and manufacture of medicinal cannabis products. An amendment will also be made to the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989.

The new law will "provide a legislative framework that will enable cannabis cultivation in Australia and provide Australian patients in need with access to medicinal cannabis for therapeutic purposes," the bill reads.

"These amendments will also ensure that when cultivation and production of cannabis and manufacture of cannabis products for medicinal purposes begin, Australia will remain compliant with its international treaty obligations as defined in the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961."

The bill explanation reads:

The Commonwealth currently has laws to regulate the import, export and manufacture of cannabinoids and cannabis raw material, but these do not allow the cultivation in Australia of cannabis plants for medicinal purposes. The manufacturing provisions in the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 are considered inadequate to properly manage the risks associated with the potential for diversion of medicinal cannabis products and other narcotic drugs.

The Commonwealth is unable to grant licences for the production of locally cultivated cannabis for medical use and remain compliant with the obligations contained in the Single Convention. As a signatory to the Single Convention, Australia agrees that the licit use of narcotic drugs must be tightly regulated to ensure that public health is protected from the risks of diversion into illicit markets.

Cannabis sativa (cannabis) is a narcotic drug that is tightly controlled in Australia. The cultivation, production, manufacture, import, export, distribution, trade, possession, use and supply of cannabis and cannabis derived products are regulated by a number of Commonwealth laws, including the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967, which addresses the manufacture of narcotic substances (including cannabis).

The amendments to the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 will ensure that any therapeutic product, including medicinal cannabis, also meets Australia’s strict international obligations safe-guarding its production, manufacture and distribution for medical and scientific purposes only.

The amendments will establish a licensing scheme for the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and related scientific purposes. The key features of the cannabis cultivation licence scheme include:

• Two cannabis licences, one that authorises the cultivation of cannabis for manufacture into medicinal cannabis products; the second that authorises research into the cannabis plant that is to be used for medicinal purposes. This could include research into growing conditions, cannabinoid yields from different strains, ensuring consistency in yields and other matters related to ensuring a safe, predictable raw material.

• A strict ‘fit and proper person’ test that will be applied to the applicant and relevant business associates and involve consideration of a range of matters including criminal history, connections, associates and family, financial status, business history and capacity to comply with licensing requirements. Licence holders will also be expected to remain ‘fit and proper’. This test is explicitly designed to ensure the exclusion of criminal elements, including organised crime, which may be tempted to use the licence scheme as cover for illegal activities.

• A need to demonstrate a supply arrangement exists with a licensed manufacturer, in order to get a licence.

• A permit system for controlling how much cannabis can be produced. This will assist in meeting a key obligation of the Single Convention to prevent over-production. Other than in the case of research, a permit will not be granted for production unless a contract exists between the licence holder and a licensed manufacturer.

• Conditions applying to the licence that ensures security of the crop so that it is not diverted to illicit uses.

• Substantial penalties for offences for breaches of conditions and for undertaking unauthorised activities.

• A comprehensive suite of regulatory controls including: powers to give directions to licence holders; of inspection, monitoring and investigation; to issue infringement notices and seek civil penalties; to accept enforceable undertakings and to seek injunctions – all to assist in ensuring the integrity of the system.

The existing manufacturing provisions are also to be updated to mirror the cannabis licence provisions. Where a cannabis licence holder must demonstrate a business relationship with a licensed manufacturer, the licensed manufacturer must be able to demonstrate a legitimate supply chain to patients consistent with provisions of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989. In effect, this will limit production and supply to legitimate demand.

Demand will be determined by suitable medical practitioners, in accordance with provisions in the Therapeutic Goods Act, such as clinical trials, authorised prescribers and the Special Access Scheme. Importantly, the Secretary of the Department of Health will have the power to order the destruction of cannabis produced by a licence holder. This allows the Secretary to control the level of production and prevent accumulation (or rectify accumulation, if it has occurred).

The Bill confers decision-making powers on the Secretary (previously the Minister) so that an internal review provision, undertaken by the Minister, can be facilitated. This gives applicants and licence holders subject to adverse decisions a more timely and less expensive option than seeking review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal directly.

The Government anticipates that there will be costs involved in the regulation of the cultivation licensing scheme, such as "administration of licence and licence variation applications, site inspections(to support application decisions), post-licence inspections, sampling and testing and the acquisition of law enforcement data to allow determinations related to 'fit and proper' person test, as well as other compliance and law enforcement activities.

The Government has has proposed that these be funded from a cost-recovery scheme "consistent with the Commonwealth’s cost-recovery guidelines."

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    So will this mean that if you grow it privately for medicinal hse, you're still fucked?

      you will need govt approval to start your own crop without issue buddy ;)

      Depends where you're living. I believe it's currently legal(ish) to have a couple of plants for personal use in ACT and SA.

      Regardless, this is a step in the right direction. Get a framework in place for controlling legal production, and you have a precedent for wider legalization.

        Really not sure where that rumour started but I can assure you it is just as illegal in SA and ACT as it is in NSW, QLD and VIC

          Incorrect. It is decriminilized in ACT. You can get a fine of $100 and they can sieze the plants if you have less then two in ACT, so they can still take it, but most cops wont.

          ^ this is correct. it is a civil offense though in most states for 1-2 plants (NSW) attracting fines of a few thousand iirc.

          So I did a little bit of reading up - apparently it's been decriminalized in ACT, NT and SA, so it's dealt with in the civil system (similar to speeding). In the other states, it is still a criminal offense, although they all have a caution/diversion system for smaller offenses.

          TIL some people do not understand the use of term "illegal".

    37,000 deaths per year in the U.S. from alcohol related deaths; this does not include alcohol influenced accidents, or anywhere else in the world (obvs) compared to marijuanas big fat 0 ever.

    alcohol overdoses and even the withdrawal can kill you. that has literally never happened with weed.

    we're moving in the right direction, though it should have always been the other way around; alcohol illegal and weed legal.

    Last edited 24/02/16 2:56 pm

      didnt some kid recently die from that synthetic weed? (kronic?) Im gonna count that even though it was synthetic

        it's not even cloooooose to weed. the solvent in nail polish remover binds to the same receptors that THC and other cannibinoids do. it can be made at home with a windex bottle, a bottle of nail polish remover, a stove, your favourite herbs and some patience.

        the media like to brand it with "synthetic" which sets the wrong implication - a "synthetic" version would imply that is derived from the original, as is the case with codeine - it is a synthetic opioid derived from the morphine in poppy latex, but it's not morphine - once ingested, the body (of most people) converts it to diacetylmorphine; that does not happen with "synthetic" weed because it's not the same drug or derived from an existing chemical composition of one, acetone just binds to the same receptors.

        Last edited 24/02/16 3:20 pm

        Synthetic weed and actual weed at two completely different things.

        Synthetic weed tries to replicate THC without actually being THC. Problem is Regular weed is fine but there has been no research in synthetic weed which actually has "not for human consumption" labelled on the packet.

        There's a short Vice documentary on this about British Junkies hooked on this stuff and how it's so much worse than organic marijuana.

        It's people like you that has kept a negative outlook on cannabis with your uneducated opinions. Do some research before chiming in on something you obviously know little-to-nothing about. From someone who suffers from chronic pain, cannabis is my only choice of pain relief as the heavy painkillers our Doctors are more than willing to prescribe, make me extremely nauseous and leaves me deeply depressed in some cases. This is such an incredible step forward from the Australian Government. While people with your opinions will now fall on deaf ears. Hallelujah.

          Jesus, why are people so quick to turn into dickheads online? Attacking him is not going to change his mind, at best he'll ignore you and at worst you're just going to entrench his views.

          I'm not saying your point is valid, or that I don't agree with you - it definitely is, and I totally do. But educating the people is the way to affect change, not attacking them.

          Last edited 24/02/16 8:58 pm

        Lol synthetic "weed (kronic)" is no way similar to actual weed, I could go on. Best to google it if your interested.

    Anyone know or heard whether the THC free version is any good for nerve pain?
    God I hope so, bring it on, I say.

    Last edited 24/02/16 2:58 pm

      can confirm it works

        Then the sooner they get through the trial phase the better!
        Personal experience or anecdotal? :)

        Last edited 24/02/16 3:35 pm

          Unintentional personal experience (male plant), yes. it seems like it's the cbd that dulls pain moreso than the thc. thc is a strong anti inflammatory, though, for what it's worth. and gets you high to boot.

      UK studies have already been done with neuropathic pain patients. Look it up (done in Scotland).

    I hurt my finger. How much am I entitled to

      an ounce, a lowrider and your choice of snoop dogg's doggystyle, cypress hill's self titled, or kottonmouth kings' rollin' stoned

        HAHAHA this comment made me giggle, and then remember the last sound-wave i went too, Cypress hill walked on stage and i swear i saw 100 separate people whip out joints faster than a speeding bullet but synchronized.

        Last edited 24/02/16 4:23 pm

          When they cranked hits from the bong the smoke plume went up a level!


      Some people still don't get this... Like the author.

    Not sure if you'd want to use acetone as a solvent but certainly can use ethanol or vege/olive oil. Easy to make at home and can either be active or inactive. Totally safe and its basically what is given to children with epilepsy (inactive version).

    Drug companies can't patent weed so they have to make their big bucks trying to create a synthetic version but it's extremely dangerous and people have died. That's ok though as the money is more important, right?

    So it's either the blue pill which is natural and harmless but illegal, or the red pill which is synthetic and might kill you but legal... Which would you choose if you had a child with epilepsy?

      You are making stuff up mate. It will be medicinal derived straight from the plant mate.

    ... all this legislation to ensure no one will use it outside of strictly controlled guidelines ... c'mon folks, let's get real ... compared to the currently legal and socially accepted substances (alcohol and tobacco), cannabis is so benign, there is simply no plausible justification to keep it illegal anymore ... given the science now available about this plant, it's clearly a preferable recreational drug to alcohol with far fewer health and social consequences ... get over it! get on with it! ... it really is time to stop the ridiculous legal persecution of cannabis users for whatever reason they use it ...

    Thats awesome. You will get people trying the system on , Growing for medical while selling to the black market as well. A rigorous inspection scheme needs to be implemented. No free passes Get caught your license is removed for good. Don't need people ruining it . We have got this far.

    Last edited 25/02/16 1:17 pm

    Really, you're gonna count that, I don't really care but maybe research the word synthetic. If it's synthetic it's not the same it's like butter and margarine there the same but they are very fukin different. Kronik is dangerous I tried it and omg never again. Tried weed a million times and NEVER once felt that way.

    I'm utterly stoked that it's now legal for medical use.
    It's a phenomenal muscle relaxant.
    I don't think it should be legal for non-medical use, it makes people stupid.

      it doesn't make people stupid it makes them relaxed chilled out and very very hungry so it's good for the economy.But seriously it will be good for those like me who have arthritis maybe to ease the pain and let walk easier and not hurt in the hands as much when i have to open jars and such.

        Because relaxed, chilled people, with impaired memory, are just *so* good at studying, working, and generally improving their economic situation. ;)

          of course but hey if they are smoking it while studying then they are idiots.I never smoked any weed till i was twenty so that was 1977 and it was something that i really did enjoy having a go at.But it was never used by anybody while we were working as i moved to Darwin in 1979 so that was a rule and if you did well it was on your head when you were put off and also if i never had any well it never worried me sometimes never touched it for 6 months or so and i haven't used it for donkey years.I will say i preferred to pull a few cones rather than get drunk off my rocker and have a headache the next day and i always new what i was doing and get so annoyed when people who go to court for some heavy crimes then use the excuse i smoked a joint drank a few beers and can't remember what i was doing,Piffle they don't and our judges let them use that excuse.

    Drug companies cant patent weed? never heard of marinol? The usa govt has the patent for weed. Do some research before talking cos you dumb us all with your inaccuracy.

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