17 June 2019

Role

The Australian Advisory Council on the Medicinal Use of Cannabis (the Council) will provide advice to the Minister for Health on issues relating to the medicinal use of cannabis and the implementation of the regulatory scheme under the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967.

Objectives

The Council is advisory in nature and will provide advice to the Minister for Health on the following matters:

  • implementation of the regulatory scheme allowing for the cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis;
  • design of prescribing guidelines and the use of Authorised Prescriber and Special Access Scheme mechanisms allowing for patient access; and
  • evidence supporting the use of medicinal cannabis for a variety of conditions.

Membership

The Council comprises of 13 members from various professional areas that contribute to the use of medicinal cannabis in Australia. The professional background of members include: medical professionals; government representatives, patient groups and law experts. Members also have expertise in the fields of: cancer, epilepsy, palliative care, toxicology, law, pharmacology and botany.

The term of appointment for Council members for the second tenure is for two years, from 1 June 2019 through to 30 June 2021 inclusive. The membership as of 1 June 2019 is at Attachment 1 below. Professor James Angus AO will continue in his role of Chair of the Council. We welcome the appointment of three new members being Dr Meera Agar, Professor Dianne Nicol, and Ms Kate Reed-Cox.

Members may resign from the Council at any time by providing a letter stating the intention to resign to the Minister for Health (copied to the Council Chair and Secretariat) at least four weeks prior to the date of resignation. The Minister for Health thanks outgoing members for their advice and service over the last two years.

The Minister for Health will consider appointments to vacancies, as appropriate.

The Minister for Health retains the discretion to terminate a member's appointment to the Council at any time and for whatever reason.

The first tenure of the Australian Advisory Council on the Medicinal Use of Cannabis membership concludes at the end of May 2019.

The Minister for Health retains the discretion to terminate a member's appointment to the Council at any time and for whatever reason.

Meetings

Meeting frequency

Based on the current and increasing interest of medicinal cannabis in Australia, it is anticipated that the Council conduct four face-to-face meetings per calendar year, with consideration of out-of-session meetings to address urgent matters of medicinal cannabis as they arise. These special meetings may be undertaken face-to-face or via teleconference.

Meeting communiques

2019

2018

2017

Secretariat

The Office of Drug Control under the Commonwealth Department of Health will provide secretariat support to the Council. The Therapeutic Goods Administration under the Commonwealth Department of Health will provide travel and administrative support to the Council membership.

Member guidelines

In addition to the Terms of Reference, Council members should also refer to the Member Guidelines. The Office of Drug Control may revise the Member Guidelines as the Council evolves.

Attachment 1

Council membership, 1 June 2019
Name Organisation Role
Professor James Angus Victorian Independent Medical Advisory Committee on Medicinal Cannabis Chair
Dr Meera Agar Professor of Palliative Care at the University of Technology Sydney Practice and policy in palliative care
Dr Ian Freckelton QC Professorial Fellow in Law and Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne Former Commissioner of the Victorian Law Reform Commission reference on Medicinal Cannabis which resulted in the Access to Medicinal Cannabis Act 2016 (Vic)
Professor Wayne Hall University of Queensland Toxicology (drugs) / Advising the QLD Government
Ms Carol Ireland Epilepsy Action Australia Practice and policy in epilepsy care
Ms Michelle Lynch Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Pharmacy profession representative
Professor Dianne Nicol Director of the Centre for Law and Genetics at the University of Tasmania Regulating new biological technologies
Professor Terence O'Brien Epilepsy Society of Australia Professional society representing doctors, researchers and health professionals in the epilepsy field
Dr Morton Rawlin Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Medical profession representative
Ms Kate Reed Cox Palliative Care Australia Practice and policy in palliative care
Dr Phil Wright NSW Department of Primary Industry Chief Scientist / Cultivation
Dr Jeannette Young Queensland Government nominee Queensland Chief Health Officer
Professor Helen Zorbas Cancer Australia Practice and policy in cancer control