23 January 2020

The Australian Advisory Council on the Medicinal Use of Cannabis, Communiqué #10

The Australian Advisory Council on the Medicinal Use of Cannabis (the Council) met on Wednesday 12 June 2019 in Melbourne for its tenth meeting.

The meeting was chaired by Professor James Angus AO. Council members represent professional organisations, specialist areas of the medical profession and patient groups.

Regulatory updates

The Council received a detailed update on the status of the regulatory scheme for the cultivation, production and manufacture of medicinal cannabis, including the status of licences, permits and applications.

The Council was advised of the continuing issues relating to licencing and permits, initiatives to improve business processes and timeframes to allow for better business continuity and focus on compliance activities. The Council was also advised of refinement of protocols for contact with state and territory government representatives. The Department of Health also advised there had been an increasing number of complaints relating to cannabis products and advertising guidelines have been developed to assist the sector understand their obligations in relation to advertising. Guidance on Good Manufacturing Practice for medicinal cannabis manufacturers is also being prepared.

Special Access Scheme (SAS) Online Portal

The department provided an update on the Special Access Schemes (SAS), including an overview of data relating to patient access to medicinal cannabis products via the different access pathways. In particular, the department highlighted the significant increase in the number of applications received and approved in May 2019.

Review of the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967

Professor John McMillan AO addressed the Council on the review of the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967, outlining a number of issues that will be highlighted in his report and acknowledging that the department has commenced an independent business review in parallel with the review of the Act.