13 August 2021

The Australian Advisory Council on the Medicinal Use of Cannabis, Communiqué #17

The Australian Advisory Council on the Medicinal Use of Cannabis (the Council) met for its seventeenth and final meeting of the Council’s second tenure, via teleconference, on Thursday 24 June 2021.

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

The Narcotic Drugs Amendment (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill 2021

Council Members were advised that the Narcotic Drugs Amendment (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill 2021 was passed by the Senate on the 17 June 2021. The change to a single licence structure, to be implemented by the Bill, will simplify the application and compliance process.

New Monitoring and Compliance Section

The Council received news that the Office of Drug Control (ODC) has established a new Monitoring and Compliance Section. This new Section will further strengthen the relationship between the ODC and industry. The Section will be responsible for compliance, monitoring and enforcement activities with Medicinal Cannabis licence holders.

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 Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) updated the Council on a recent legislative amendment which expands the delegation for decision making on Authorised Prescriber applications to include pharmacist delegates, increasing the delegate pool for decisions on these applications. Additionally, the TGA updated the Council regarding a policy change to amend the default approval duration for SAS Category B approvals from 12 to 24 months.

Review of the Council's Second Tenure

Council members were acknowledged for their contribution to the Council's second tenure. Discussion highlighted some of the Council’s major achievements over this period, such as its expert contribution into the department’s consideration of barriers faced by patients to access to medicinal cannabis in Australia, and providing feedback on significant reforms to the medicinal cannabis licencing framework and changes to fees and changes.

Next meeting

The first meeting of the third tenure of the Council will be convened once the process for the re-establishment of the Council has been finalised.