SYDNEY, Oct. 13 (PNA/Xinhua) — The Queensland government has passed a new legislation that will allow sick patients of any age to gain access to medicinal cannabis legally from their GPs.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a statement that the Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill 2016 was passed at its state parliament on Wednesday night after gaining unanimous support from the Opposition and cross benchers.
“This legislation is a milestone for those who have campaigned tirelessly for changes that will allow access to medicinal cannabis,” the premier said in a statement.
These new legislation is aimed at giving certain specialists such as oncologists, paediatric neurologists and palliative care specialists the right to prescribe medicinal cannabis from March next year.
Other doctors, including GPs, would be able to apply to Queensland Health for permission to prescribe the drug for patients with certain conditions.
Queensland Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said the new law would allow greater use of medicinal cannabis products for some patients.
“This groundbreaking reform is a game changer for seriously ill patients who often feel compelled to seek out illicit cannabis treatment options,” he said.
“We understand the importance of providing holistic care to patients and that’s why we have made this treatment available legally.”
The new law will ensure that the use of medicinal cannabis will be integrated into patient treatment plans and overseen by a medical practitioner, to ensure the right monitoring and controls are in place.
“Before they can be prescribed, medicinal cannabis products will still need to be approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration,” Dick said.
In 2015, Queensland became the first state in Australia to permit patient access to medicinal cannabis products through amendments to the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996.
Meanwhile, the use of cannabis without the appropriate approvals will continue to be illegal in Queensland.