Legislation to enable the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and related research purposes in Australia was passed by Parliament on 29 February 2016. The amendments relating to licensing came into effect on 30 October 2016. A detailed regulatory framework has been put in place to enable applications for licences and permits for the cultivation, production and manufacture of medicinal cannabis products.
Medicinal cannabis products will only be available for specific patient groups under medical supervision. Cannabis grown for medicinal purposes, as well as the resulting product, is subject to stringent security and quality control measures.
Domestic cultivation of medicinal cannabis will enable sufficient quantities of raw materials to be available to meet the needs of local manufacturers. It also ensures that quality control measures on medicinal cannabis-derived products can be enforced to protect patient safety.
It is important to note that cannabis cultivated for other purposes (other than for industrial hemp) remains illegal.
There are three types of licences relating to the supply of medicinal cannabis products available:
- medicinal cannabis licence authorising cultivation or production or both
- cannabis research licence authorising similar process for research purposes
- manufacturing licence authorising the manufacture of a drug or product.
All applicants for licences under the Medicinal Cannabis framework will be subject to regulations. These regulations include detail on the 'fit and proper person' test, which involves consideration of the applicant's criminal history, financial viability, business history and capacity to comply with licensing requirements.
Before any activity under a licence can commence, the licensee will need to obtain a permit, which will set out the types and amount of cannabis that can be grown and/or produced and the types and quantities of medicinal cannabis products that can be manufactured under the licence.
Cultivators need to hold either a medicinal cannabis licence or a cannabis research licence granted by the Office of Drug Control.
Manufacturers need to hold a manufacturing licence granted by the Office of Drug Control.
Import and export
Find out more about import and export, including information about international drug conventions.
More information about patient access to medicinal cannabis products.