Following a decision by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, medical marijuana will become formally legal in Australia this fall. In a decision published at the end of August, the delegate announced that medicinal cannabis will be considered legal beginning November 1, but there will likely be a delay for patients as the country sets up a national regulatory system.
Australia had previously approved cannabis clinical trials, which according to The Sydney Morning Herald “have shown moderate quality evidence the substance can help treat chronic pain and spasticity and potentially reduce chemotherapy-related nausea.”
“The aim of the decision is to provide genuine patients access to a safe, legal and sustainable supply of locally produced products for the management of painful and chronic conditions,” the TGA wrote on its site.
The final TGA decision will move medical marijuana from a Schedule 9 entry to a Schedule 8 entry. Under the Narcotics Drugs Act 1967, there are 10 classifications of substances, with 10 considered the most dangerous. Medical marijuana will join codeine, morphine and dilaudid as a Schedule 8 entry, which include substances and products that are specifically for medicinal purposes and require a prescription from a medical doctor. Rescheduling medical marijuana was initially proposed at a March 2016 meeting of the Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling (ACMS).
The scheduling changes will take effect once the new Poisons Standard is published in November. Marijuana for non-medicinal purposes will remain illegal throughout Australia.
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