(Mashable) Importers will now be allowed to buy from “a reputable supplier overseas,” and store it locally to be distributed via doctors approved to supply medicinal cannabis products. The change is intended to counter delays for patients prescribed medicinal cannabis, who currently have to rely on “case by case” imports from overseas.
“We are now making it easier to access medicinal cannabis products more rapidly, while still maintaining strict safeguards for individual and community safety,” Hunt wrote in a Facebook post.
He estimated that “within 8 weeks, possibly sooner” Australia will have a store of imported medicinal cannabis ready to go.
The federal government took a significant step towards legalisation in February 2016 when it amended the Narcotics Drugs Act. The change created a national licensing scheme for the controlled cultivation of medical cannabis, but access for patients has been stymied by a patchwork of state laws.
The legal approach to medical cannabis varies state by state. While New South Wales has a Medicinal Cannabis Compassionate Use Scheme that allows police the discretion not to prosecute use of the drug by “adults with terminal illness,” Victoria became the first state in Australia to legalise medical cannabis in early 2016.