On the 3rd February 2021, the Narcotic Drugs Amendment (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill 2021 (Bill) was introduced into the Australian Parliament. The Bill aims to streamline the current regulatory scheme for cultivation, production, research and manufacture of medicinal cannabis.
The Bill encompasses amendments to the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 (Act) to reflect recommendations that came out of a review of the Act. The objectives of the Act are to prevent abuse and diversion of controlled narcotics and to ensure the availability of such drugs for medical and research purposes, pursuant to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. From October 2016, the Act was extended to regulate of cannabis cultivation and production in Australia and to facilitate the supply of medicinal cannabis products for therapeutic purposes.
Key aspects of the Bill include provisions to:
- reduce the burden of the licence assessment process, by providing for a single medicinal cannabis licence to replace the suite of licences currently required for cultivation, production, manufacture and research activities; and
- provide for the majority of licences to be permanent.
We will provide further updates on the passage of this Bill through the Australian Parliament as they occur.