‘Streamlined’ process to create better medicinal cannabis access

Australians will soon have better access to unregistered medicinal cannabis.

A proposal was made at the COAG Health Council meeting on Friday for streamlined access, with the state government agreeing to collaborate with other states, territories, and the Commonwealth.

A nationally consistent online application pathway would be created for the application and approval processes for unregistered medicinal cannabis products.

The process would avoid the doubling of decisions of clinical appropriateness, while maintaining the separate approvals by states and territories necessary in managing appropriate access to drugs of addiction.

Health Minister Michael Ferguson said “Tasmania has been pushing for a consistent approach” for two years.

“Having national consistency is important to ensure access to these products under appropriate national guidelines,” he said.

“Tasmania’s Controlled Access Scheme allows relevant medical specialists to prescribe unregistered cannabis products in circumstances where conventional treatment has been unsuccessful.”


The first focus of the scheme was young people with a resistance to traditional epilepsy medications, however it did not identify any particular conditions which would or would not benefit from medicinal cannabis.

“Since the CAS commenced in September 2017, six applications have been approved, with a further three under consideration,” Mr Ferguson said.

“We are happy to work with other states, territories, and the Commonwealth to have an approach that provides the necessary medical oversight in a consistent manner.”

In Tasmania, to apply for the CAS a discussion must be had with your general practitioner, who may then refer you to a relevant medical specialist.

If appropriate, the specialist would then apply for a legal authorisation from the Department of Health and Human Services to prescribe medicinal cannabis.