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In November 2016 the Therapeutic Goods Administration declared medicinal cannabis (Marijuana) a controlled drug in the Poisons Standard. Our Medico-legal advisor from MDA National has provided some guidance

Although medicinal cannabis can now be prescribed there are strict guidelines and legislative requirements that medical practitioners will need to follow to safely and legally prescribe medicinal cannabis to their patients.

MDA National’s Medico-legal advisor John Vijayaraj has outlined the steps medical practitioners will need to take to stay in line with the legislative requirements at state/territory and federal level. We have summarized and excerpted this information however for the full article please visit:

State Requirement
NSW You must hold an authority issued by both the Secretary NSW Health to prescribe and the Secretary, Commonwealth Department of Health to import and/or supply that particular product
QLD You may access medicinal cannabis to facilitate treatment through the following pathways: clinical trials, a single-patient prescriber, on a case-by-case basis – apply to Queensland Health for approval to prescribe, a patient-class prescriber pathway is still being developed – a specific class of specialist medical practitioners authorised to prescribe a specified medicinal cannabis product.

In addition to the above pathways, TGA approval is required

VIC Children with severe intractable epilepsy are the first group of eligible patients. Eligible patient groups may be expanded in the future on the advice of the Independent Medical Advisory Committee or those approved by the TGA
WA You must apply to the WA Department of Health to become an approved prescriber and be prescribing in accordance with the Code
SA Authorised medical practitioners can legally prescribe medicinal cannabis products with Commonwealth approval. State approval is only required for treatment longer than two months, or before commencing treatment


Australian registered medical practitioners can apply to the TGA to access products in the following ways:

  • Access for individual patients – through either the Authorised Prescriber Scheme or Special Access Scheme (Part B)
  • Access as part of a clinical trial.

TGA approval is not required for category A patients through the Special Access Scheme.

Once an Australian registered medical practitioner has obtained approval (under the applicable state or territory laws or TGA) to prescribe a medicinal cannabis product to a particular patient, the medical practitioner can apply on the patient’s behalf for approval to import and supply these products through the SAS. Once approved, the medical practitioner wishing to import the product will then need to obtain import permits from the Office of Drug Control (ODC).

Patients can also access medicinal cannabis through the personal importation scheme. However, the personal importation of medicinal cannabis products is still subject to tight controls including import permit requirements from the ODC and applicable state and territory requirements.

If you have found yourself unsure as to how to prescribe medicinal cannabis to a patient in need or have other medico-legal questions that you would like assistance with please contact your medical indemnity insurance providers advisory service