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Medicinal cannabis in Queensland: your legal rights

Medicinal cannabis was recently legalised in Queensland but there are still restrictions.Reports about the benefits of medicinal cannabis are growing and Queensland has now joined New South Wales in passing laws approving the drug for use as a medical treatment, but that doesn’t mean you can just light up in the Sunshine State and say it’s a prescription.
Nanjing Night Net

Earlier this year the Federal Government introduced laws that established a licensing scheme to allow medicinal cannabis to be cultivated, manufactured and supplied in Australia, rather than relying on imported product. However, the States and Territories need to introduce similar legislation to allow their residents to access the cannabis through this Scheme, which is what the Queensland Government has now achieved.

The new Queensland laws are restrictive in that they do not broadly decriminalise the growing of, supply and use of cannabis. Any growth and supply of cannabis outside of the law will be illegal, regardless of whether the intention was medicinal. So growing your own and smoking it at home, without a doctors approval, is still illegal even if it makes you feel better. There are also penalties if medicinal cannabis is misused outside of what has been approved.

In Queensland the illegal supply and possession of cannabis carries a maximum jail term of 20 years, with the penalty increasing for amounts over 500 grams.

To use cannabis in a way that complies with the new laws, the following steps need to be taken: A patient sees a doctor to discuss the treatment and provides written consent to use the drug;The medical practitioner applies to the chief executive of Queensland Health for approval to treat the patient with medicinal cannabis;Queensland Health will consider a range of matters to determine the patient’s suitability including their medical condition, the form and dosage proposed, alternate treatment available and tried, the risk of unwanted side effects;If approved there will be guidelines attached to the approval for the form, dosage and dispensing of the cannabis (including the pharmacy responsible), details of the carers responsible, and any other necessary conditions

The types of patients likely to be eligible include those suffering from significant pain or spasms caused by multiple sclerosis, severe side effects caused by cancer or HIV/AIDS treatment, severe seizures from epilepsy and palliative care. It is important to note that the medical experts are still divided on the benefits of cannabis treatments, especially for children.

Australian States have varied approaches to the decriminalisation of medicinal cannabis. NSW has a Scheme allowing terminally ill adults to use and possess cannabis for medical use. Victoria has a Scheme which will commence in 2017 allowing certain patients, initially children with severe epilepsy access to medicinal cannabis.

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Alison and Jillian Barrett are both principals at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers. The Queensland sisters are experienced lawyers and passionate social justice campaigners. Alison juggles motherhood, as well as heading up a major legal practice area. Younger sister Jillian also leads a team of lawyers and sports a double degree in Law and Journalism.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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