Medical marijuana will be available to patients in Australia beginning in November after approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the Canberra Times reports. The drug will be “strictly controlled” in the nation and the government is still forming a formal regulation structure.
Lucy Haslam, co-founder of United in Compassion, said the TGA decision is an “essential step in the process,” but patients are stuck in a “holding pattern” while the government determines the rules and sets up infrastructure. She is concerned that the industry could be “so bound up in red tape” that it might not be feasible.
“My fear is that the industry will become so expensive that patients won’t be able to access a legal supply at an affordable price,” Haslam said in the report. “There’s also a lot of work to do on educating people and doctors, some of who remain a bit uncomfortable about prescribing medical cannabis to patients.”
Under the TGA decision, non-medical cannabis will remain illegal with medical marijuana products being listed as Schedule 8 – along with other restricted drugs like morphine. Physicians will be permitted to prescribe cannabis under state or territory laws.
Changes to the Narcotic Drugs Act will allow for marijuana to be grown and produced in Australia for medicinal purposes only.
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