Appendix B. Submissions

1. Jayden Armstrong

2. Cheryl Wright

3. Leaf Van Amsterdam

4. Name withheld

5. Matthew Corda

6. Confidential

7. Jeni Martin

8. Dr Robert Kawaldi

9. Elizabeth

10. Heather Marie Gladman

11. JB

12. Sandy Popple

13. Cannabis Social Club Australia

14. Confidential

15. Trich, Cannabis Social Club Australia

16. Amanda Newell

17. Cannabis Social Club Australia

18. Name withheld

19. Name withheld

20. Vic Camilleri

21. Drug Policy Modelling Program

22. Scott Hulley

23. Toby Stewart

24. Emeritus Professor David Penington AC

25. MS Australia & MS Research Australia

26. Confidential

27. Family Voice Australia

28. Confidential

29. Mullaways Medical Cannabis Pty Ltd

30. Dr Andrew Katelaris

31. Name withheld

32. Confidential

33. Aaron Johnson & Kelli Russell

34. Christian Business Men Australia, Macedon Ranges Group

35. The Australian Lawful Use of Cannabis Alliance

36. Les McDonald, Bebuybac the Concerned Australians

37. Cannabis Policy Project

38. AMA Victoria

39. Confidential

40. Samuel Fair

41. Alkman Management Services Pty Ltd

42. Name withheld

43. Name withheld

44. Victoria Police

45. Confidential

46. Victorian Alcohol & Drug Association

47. Name withheld

48. Name withheld

49. Shirley Humphris

50. Cassie Batten & Rhett Wallace

51. Cheri O’Connell

52. The Royal Australian College of Physicians

53. Fred Andronikos

54. Cancer Action Victoria Inc

55. Name withheld

56. Confidential

57. Cancer Council Victoria

58. ACES Group

59. Matthew Pallett

60. UTT BioPharmaceuticals Pty Ltd

61. One World Cannabis Ltd

62. Derek & Elyse Spence

63. Law Institute of Victoria

64. Robert Wisbey

65. Name withheld

66. Jan Hartwich

67. Max & Diane Lock

68. Name withheld

69. Cannabis Science Australia Pty Ltd

70. Leah Bisiani

71. Michelle Whitelaw

72. Mark Eastick

73. Ivan Schparyk

74. Marc Selan

75. Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch)

76. EROS The Adults Only Association

77. Aboriginal Embassy Victoria

78. Joylene Donovan

79. Confidential

80. Natalie Vassallo

81. Lyn Cleaver

82. Confidential

83. Kevin Sammon

84. Loren W

85. Iain Fredin

86. Name withheld

87. Name withheld

88. Name withheld

89. Heather Marie Gladman

90. Belinda Doonar

91. Rangi Faulder

92. Lindsay Milton

93. Rodd

94. Fred Andronikos

95. Michelle O’Dea, with the assistance of a working group of the cannabis community of Victoria

96. KF

97. Dr David Bearman

98. Associate Professor Carolyn Arnold

99. Cancer Council Victoria

 

 

 

 

 

The following tables list amendments that would support the Commission’s recommended option for changes to the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic), and to the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2006, to allow people to be treated with medicinal cannabis in exceptional circumstances.

  • Table 1: Cultivating and manufacturing medicinal cannabis products
  • Table 2: Treating medicinal cannabis as a class of poison or controlled substance
  • Table 3: Deeming classes of patients to be eligible to access medicinal cannabis
  • Table 4: Lawful possession of medicinal cannabis
  • Table 5: Lawful supply of medicinal cannabis
  • Table 6: Lawful storage of medicinal cannabis
  • Table 7: Recording transactions in medicinal cannabis
  • Table 8: Lawful administration of medicinal cannabis
  • Table 9: Lawful destruction of medicinal cannabis
  • Table 10: New offences under a Victorian medicinal cannabis scheme

 

Table 1: Establishing a scheme for the lawful cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis products in the <strong_em>Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic)

Purpose

Explanation

Define ‘cannabis’

It would be necessary to define ‘cannabis’ in order to identify the raw product that cultivators and manufacturers are licensed to turn into ‘medicinal cannabis’ products. The Commission anticipates that it is the process of cultivation, manufacturing, labelling and quality testing that turns cannabis into a product that is appropriate for medicinal consumption and is as such ‘medicinal cannabis’.

The definition could refer to the definition of cannabis in section 70 of the Act: ‘any fresh or dried parts of a plant of the genus Cannabis L’.

Define ‘Commonwealth licence to manufacture’

As in the poppy scheme, cannabis manufacturers would need to have a licence under the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 (Cth) and a definition is accordingly required.

The definition could draw upon the definition of ‘Commonwealth licence to manufacture’ in s 69N of the Act: ‘a licence to manufacture narcotic drugs which relates to the manufacturing of cannabis, cannabis resin, extracts or tinctures of cannabis under the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 of the Commonwealth’.

Create a ‘cannabis cultivation licence’

A division could deal with ‘cannabis cultivation licences’, administered by the Secretary of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. This division and associated definitions could be modelled on Division 2 of Part IVB of the Act.

As in the poppy scheme, the activity of cultivation would have to be defined. The definition could take on the meaning it is given in s 70 of the Act: to ‘sow a seed of a narcotic plant’, to ‘plant, grow, tend, nurture or harvest a narcotic plant’ or to ‘graft, divide or transplant a narcotic plant’.

Of particular importance is the requirement, following s 69OC(7), that the holder of a cannabis cultivation licence is only permitted to conduct activities under a contract that has been registered in the ‘Cannabis register’.

Enable the Secretary of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources to amend or suspend cannabis cultivation licences

This division would grant the Secretary of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources powers to amend, suspend or cancel cannabis cultivation licences issued under the scheme. It could be modelled on Division 4 of Part IVB of the Act.

Enable the Secretary of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources to appoint inspectors to supervise the activities of cannabis cultivation licensees and the enforcement of breaches of their licences or the provisions of the Act.

This division would grant the Secretary of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources powers to appoint inspectors to conduct various functions under the scheme. Inspectors would have powers similar to the powers conferred on inspectors under the poppy scheme by s 69RB of the Act.

The Division could be modelled on Division 5 of Part IVB of the Act.

Create a ‘cannabis manufacturing licence’

It would be necessary to deal with ‘cannabis manufacturing licences’, administered by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. This division and associated definitions could be modelled on Division 3 of Part IVB of the Act.

‘Manufacturing’ could be defined with reference to the definition in s 4(1) of the Act, providing that it ‘includes any process of refining, manipulating and mixing cannabis’.

Of particular importance is to create a requirement, following s 69PC(8), that the holder of a cannabis manufacturing licence have a current Commonwealth licence to manufacture.

Enable the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to amend or suspend cannabis manufacturing licences

This division would grant the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services powers to amend, suspend or cancel cannabis manufacturing licences issued under the scheme.

The Division could be modelled on Division 4 of Part IVB of the Act.

Enable the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to authorise the inspection of the activities of cannabis manufacturing licensees and enforce breaches of their licences or the provisions of the Act.

This division would grant the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services powers to authorise inspectors to conduct various functions under the scheme relating to cannabis manufacture. Inspectors would have powers similar to the powers conferred on inspectors under the poppy scheme by s 69RB of the Act.

The Division could be modelled on Division 5 of Part IVB of the Act.

Set out offences for non-compliance with various aspects of the scheme.

The division would impose penalties on licensed cannabis cultivators and licensed cannabis manufacturers which failed to comply with their statutory obligations or licence conditions.

It could be modelled on Division 6 of Part IVB of the Act.

Establish a register for contracts between licensed cultivators and licensed manufacturers of cannabis.

The Alkaloid Poppy Register is used to determine which contracts between licensed processors and cultivators are compliant under the scheme. Details of the contract are kept on the Register, including the parties to the contract, the location of cultivation and the period of the contract.

It is a condition of every poppy cultivation licence that the cultivator have a contract with a processor of poppy straw that is on the Register.

A Cannabis Register, modelled on the Alkaloid Poppy Register, could be used to monitor the existence and particulars of contractual agreements and restrict the range of contracts that are able to be acted on by licensees.

The provisions could be modelled on Division 7 of Part IVB of the Act.

Establish avenues for review by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal

Under the poppy scheme, applicants may apply to VCAT for a review of adverse decisions of a Secretary relating to licences under the Act. A similar avenue of review should be permitted in respect of adverse decisions about cannabis cultivation licences and cannabis manufacturing licences.

The provisions could be modelled on Division 8 of Part IVB of the Act.

Create a register of medicinal cannabis products approved for sale in Victoria

The Commission recommends that a new register of approved products be established, specifying a range of details about each registered product, which this new Division would establish.

The Division would set out the relevant rules and powers relating to that approval. The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services would be granted the power to approve new products.

Create a process by which authorised officers are permitted to take possession of medicinal cannabis

Under the medicinal cannabis scheme, authorised officers of the Victorian Government would be required to take physical possession of cannabis, potentially arrange for it to be tested and labelled (rendering it ‘medicinal cannabis’) and deliver it to participating pharmacies. This Division would authorise those activities.

Confer power on the Governor in Council to make regulations

Section 69V of the Act provides that the Governor in Council may make regulations with respect to a wide range of matters pertaining to the poppy scheme.

Similar powers would be needed in respect of the cannabis scheme. This new Division could confer upon the Governor in Council the power to make enforceable standards about the quality of cannabis cultivated or manufactured under the scheme.

The provisions could be modelled on Division 9 of Part IVB of the Act.

 

 

Table 2: Treating medicinal cannabis as a class of poison or controlled substance by amending the <strong_em>Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic)

Purpose

Explanation

Define ‘medicinal cannabis’

Medicinal cannabis products that are lawfully cultivated, manufactured and labelled as such by the state under a Victorian scheme would need to be identified in s 4(1) of the Act.

The definition should make it clear that ‘medicinal cannabis’ is still ‘cannabis’ and as such is a drug of dependence.

Include ‘drug of dependence’ in the definition of medicinal cannabis

This amendment is not strictly necessary, because ‘cannabis’ is already identified in Schedule 11 of the Act as a drug of dependence and should be understood to include medicinal cannabis. However, for the purposes of clarity it may be preferable to expressly identify the medicinal cannabis products produced under the scheme as drugs of dependence in s 4(1) of the Act.

Amend ‘poison or controlled substance’ to include medicinal cannabis

Various rules in the Act apply to ‘poisons and controlled substances’
as a class, the definition applying to all scheduled medicines.
It is desirable for the bulk of these rules to also apply to medicinal cannabis.

Where rules should not apply to medicinal cannabis, a specific exemption has been suggested, as occurs with other scheduled medicines.

Exempt medicinal cannabis from the poisons schedules

The Commission regards it as appropriate to treat medicinal cannabis as a wholly separate ‘schedule’ of medicine. This allows rules applying to different schedules of medicine to be applied to medicinal cannabis as is desired, and also permits new rules specific to medicinal cannabis to be created.

This could be achieved by introducing medicinal cannabis into Part 3 of the Poisons List, in reliance on s 12A(1)(b) of the Act.

Exempt medicinal cannabis from the offences the Act imposes for breaching the Commonwealth Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons’ rules with respect to the labelling, containing, storing and packaging, and advertising of poisons and controlled substances

Medicinal cannabis medicines should not be subject to the SUSMP’s rules about labelling, containing, storing, packaging, and advertising. New rules will be created under the Victorian scheme.

This would require an additional provision to be introduced into s 27A of the Act.

Add medicinal cannabis to the rules about registered nurses administering certain medicines to residents in aged care services who are in high-level residential care

Registered nurses are currently permitted to manage the administration of drugs of dependence, Schedule 4, 8 and 9 poisons that have been prescribed to residents of aged care services who are in high-level residential care.

A new section may be required to ensure registered nurses can administer medicinal cannabis. Section 36E refers to ‘prescription’ and s 36F refers to national guidelines of the Nursing and Midwifery Board.These may not be features of a Victorian medicinal cannabis scheme.

Exempt the medicinal cannabis scheme from the requirement that the Secretary of the Department of Health maintain a public list of persons holding licenses, permits or warrants.

Like the poppy scheme and the low-THC hemp scheme, it is not desirable to require the Secretary to make public the details of licence-holders under a Victorian medicinal cannabis scheme.

Section 118 of the Act is used to exempt the poppy scheme and can be used to similarly exempt medicinal cannabis licence-holders.

 

 

 

Table 3: Establishing a mechanism by which classes of patient may be deemed eligible to access medicinal cannabis products under the <strong_em>Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic)

Purpose

Explanation

Enable the Governor in Council to make regulations setting out categories of eligibility to the scheme

The Commission has recommended that the conditions and symptoms that entitle patients to access medicinal cannabis be set out in regulations.

 

 

Table 4: Enabling medicinal cannabis to be lawfully possessed by amending the <strong_em>Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2006 (Vic)

Purpose

Explanation

Enable a person who holds a licence to cultivate or manufacture medicinal cannabis under the Act to possess medicinal cannabis to the extent authorised by the licence.

If medicinal cannabis is exempted from the poisons schedules, it would be necessary to re-apply certain regulations about possession to medicinal cannabis.

This would mean authorising the holder of a cannabis cultivation licence or cannabis manufacturing licence, and their employees and contractors, to possess medicinal cannabis in the way permitted by the licence.

It could be achieved through amending r 5(1) item 1, or, more likely, through the creation of a new regulation so as to better separate out medicinal cannabis licences from other licences, permits and warrants.

Enable the carriers or employees of a carrier to possess medicinal cannabis for delivery to the person to whom it is addressed, as consigned to them by a licence-holder or a medical practitioner

If medicinal cannabis is exempted from the poisons schedules, it would be necessary to re-apply certain regulations about possession to medicinal cannabis.

This would mean enabling a carrier service to transport medicinal cannabis from a licence-holder, or a medical practitioner or pharmacist to the person to whom it is addressed.

It could be achieved through amending r 5(1) item 2, or through the creation of a new regulation.

Enable a person to possess medicinal cannabis supplied to them by a registered medical practitioner or pharmacist to the extent and for the purpose for which it supplied.

If medicinal cannabis is exempted from the poisons schedules, it would be necessary to re-apply certain regulations about possession to medicinal cannabis.

This amendment would enable a person who has lawfully received medicinal cannabis from a doctor or pharmacist to possess it for the purpose intended, most obviously medical use.

It could be achieved through amending r 5(1) item 3, or through the creation of a new regulation.

Enable a nurse to possess medicinal cannabis to the extent necessary for administration to a patient in accordance with the instructions of a registered medical practitioner

If medicinal cannabis is exempted from the poisons schedules, it would be necessary to re-apply certain regulations about possession to medicinal cannabis.

This would mean enabling a nurse to administer medicinal cannabis to their patient on the instructions of a registered medical practitioner.

It could be achieved through amending r 5(2), or through the creation of a new regulation.

Enable a nurse to possess medicinal cannabis while not under the direct supervision of a registered medical practitioner, on determination by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

If medicinal cannabis is exempted from the poisons schedules, it would be necessary to re-apply certain regulations about possession to medicinal cannabis.

This amendment would enable a nurse to administer medicinal cannabis to their patient while not being directly supervised by a medical practitioner. The power is only to be used by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human when necessary. It could be achieved through amending rr 5(3) and (4), or through the creation of a new regulation.

Enable a registered medical practitioner to authorise treatment with medicinal cannabis

A new regulation should be inserted setting out the assessment to be made by a medical practitioner about whether it is appropriate to authorise the patient to access cannabis. Currently, r 8 requires that the medical practitioner assess a patient’s therapeutic need for any drug of dependence before prescribing it to the patient. Amendments could use the same wording or adopt a new test.

Prohibit a pharmacist from supplying medicinal cannabis to a person for their therapeutic use otherwise than on the basis of an Authority to Dispense.

Currently, r 12 requires that a pharmacist may supply a drug of dependence to a person without a prescription after making an assessment of the person’s therapeutic need.

The Commission has recommended that pharmacists be permitted to dispense medicinal cannabis only upon receiving an Authority to Dispense from a medical practitioner. Regulation 12 should be changed to reflect this. The term ‘drug of dependence’ in r 12 should be qualified by ‘other than medicinal cannabis’.

A new regulation should be inserted prohibiting a pharmacist from supplying cannabis based on an assessment of a patient’s therapeutic need.

Enable a pharmacist to supply medicinal cannabis to a person who provides them with an Authority to Dispense issued by a medical practitioner in relation to the person.

There is no regulation authorising pharmacists to administer, sell or supply medicinal cannabis to patients. A new regulation is required allowing a pharmacist to administer, sell or supply medicinal cannabis upon being presented with an Authority to Dispense by a patient.

This could be achieved by amending r 15 or through the creation of a new regulation.

Enable the Secretary of the Department of Health to issue permits to specialist medical practitioners to authorise treatment with medicinal cannabis

There is no regulation authorising the Secretary to issue medicinal cannabis permits to specialist medical practitioners. A new regulation is required granting the Secretary this power.

This could be achieved through amending r 22B or through the creation of a new regulation.

 

 

Table 5: Enabling medicinal cannabis to be lawfully supplied by amending the <strong_em>Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2006 (Vic)

Purpose

Explanation

Enable medical practitioners with the requisite permit to authorise patients to obtain medicinal cannabis from pharmacists.

There is no regulation identifying the medical practitioners who can authorise patients to access medicinal cannabis.

A new regulation is required enabling eligible medical practitioners who are authorised by the requisite permit to authorise treatment with medicinal cannabis.

This would require a new regulation modelled on r 25.

Enable the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to determine the style and particulars of an Authority to Dispense medicinal cannabis.

There is no regulation setting out the style and particulars of a medicinal cannabis Authority to Dispense.

A new regulation is required enabling the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to establish the manner of writing that constitutes a valid Authority to Dispense, in the manner of r 26(1)(b). Like r 26(2), the Secretary should have regard to security, legibility and anything else the Secretary regards as relevant.

Appropriately modified versions of subss (4) (prohibiting an Authority to Dispense being in secret code) and (5) (prohibiting the inclusion of particulars that are false or misleading) should be incorporated into any new regulation.

Require pharmacists to verify the details of an Authority to Dispense before supplying medicinal cannabis.

There is no regulation requiring pharmacists to verify the details of an Authority to Dispense medicinal cannabis. Such verification is required for prescriptions for medicines in Schedules 8 and 9.

A modified version of r 28 could require the pharmacist to take reasonable steps to ensure the Authority to Dispense is from the eligible registered medical practitioner from whom it purports to have been issued.

Require the suppliers of medicines to label medicinal cannabis products with certain details.

There is no regulation requiring the supplier of a medicinal cannabis product to label it with information about the name of the patient, the date of recording, the name, address and phone number of the supplier and the name of the medicinal cannabis product.

A modified version of r 29 should indicate to pharmacists (in particular) when they have to label medicinal cannabis products with instructions about their use.

Require pharmacists to label medicinal cannabis products with details about when supplied and the date of the supply.

There is no regulation requiring the supplying pharmacist to identify that a medicinal cannabis product has been supplied and mark the date and premises of the supply.

Further, r 30 prohibits the supply of a prescription medicine where more than 12 months have passed since the date of the prescription (in the case of a Schedule 4 poison) or 6 months have passed since the prescription date (in the case of Schedule 8 and 9 poisons).

A modified version of r 30 should indicate to pharmacists how they must label and date the supply of a medicinal cannabis product, and the circumstances in which they must not supply it because the Authority to Dispense is out of date.

Set out the circumstances where a pharmacist must not supply on an Authority to Dispense

There is no regulation directing a pharmacist not to supply a medicinal cannabis product when presented with an Authority to Dispense that is forged, altered, illegible, or concerns a product that has already been supplied. Nor is there a requirement that a pharmacist not supply medicinal cannabis products in excess of the Authority to Dispense.

A modified version of r 31 should require a pharmacist not to supply medicinal cannabis products upon a defective Authority to Dispense or in excess of the amount authorised. Like r 31, a pharmacist should be required to notify Victoria Police and the Secretary when presented with a defective Authority to Dispense.

Alternatively, a supply of a medicinal cannabis product in excess of the amount specified in the Authority to Dispense could be treated as unauthorised supply of a drug of dependence as prohibited by Part V of the Act.

Require pharmacists to notify the authorising medical practitioner when they believe a patient has sought multiple authorisations from multiple medical practitioners

There is no regulation requiring a pharmacist to notify a medical practitioner when they believe the authorised patient has obtained medicinal cannabis from them in the past eight weeks by using an Authority to Dispense issued by another medical practitioner.

A modified version of r 32 could require the pharmacist to notify an authorising medical practitioner if they believe multiple authorities to dispense have been obtained. Such a requirement may not be necessary, because the permit system proposed by the Commission may adequately prevent multiple authorities being sought by a patient.

Require pharmacists to retain Authority to Dispense

There is no regulation requiring pharmacists to take possession of and retain an Authority to Dispense once all of the medicinal cannabis it authorises has been supplied.

A modified version of r 33 could impose this requirement, and require it to be made available to authorised officers on request.

 

 

 

Table 6: Establishing rules for the lawful storage of medicinal cannabis by amending the <strong_em>Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2006 (Vic)

Purpose

Explanation

Require anyone entitled to possess medicinal cannabis to store it as a Schedule 8 or 9 poison

There is no regulation that specifically requires medicinal cannabis to be stored. If medicinal cannabis is exempted from the poisons schedules, it is necessary to re-apply the rules around storage to medicinal cannabis.

Regulation 35 could be amended to include medicinal cannabis to be stored similarly to Schedule 8 and 9 poisons.

Require anyone entitled to possess medicinal cannabis to fix and secure their storage facility

There is no regulation requiring medicinal cannabis to be kept in a locked storage facility that is fixed to the ground, as is required with Schedule 8 and 9 poisons.

Regulation 36(1)(b) could be amended to extend these requirements to medicinal cannabis. Amendments may also be required to r 36(2) to clarify which people would be subject to the storage requirement.

Provide the Secretary with the power to require additional security for medicinal cannabis

There is no regulation authorising the Secretary to direct persons who store cannabis to provide additional security. This power should be introduced into the regulations. Medicinal cannabis would have to be incorporated into r 37 or a new regulation made.

 

 

Table 7: Establishing rules for recording transactions in medicinal cannabis by amending the <strong_em>Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2006 (Vic)

Purpose

Explanation

Identify which transactions must be recorded, what must be recorded and who must keep the record

Obligations around record-keeping apply to ‘transactions’ as defined in r 38, described as the ‘manufacture, preparation, use, transfer within and between premises, administration, sale, supply, disposal and destruction’ of Schedule 4, 8 and 9 poisons. If the obligations in Division 5 are to be extended to medicinal cannabis, it will be necessary to extend the definition of transaction.

Under r 39(a), medical practitioners and pharmacists are always required to keep records of transactions. It would be necessary to extend these obligations to cover medicinal cannabis.

People who have record-keeping obligations as conferred by r 39 must record certain details about ‘transactions’, under r 40. Sub-r 40(e), (f) and (h) impose recording obligations specifically on Schedule 8 and 9 poisons. These obligations would need to be specifically extended to medicinal cannabis.

Require records to be retained and retrieved in a particular way

Under r 41, records of Schedule 8 and 9 poisons must be in English and readily sorted by the type of poison, the quantity held of each poison, and indicate who has engaged in transactions in respect of each poison. These requirements should be adapted to apply to different types of medicinal cannabis.

Require records to be accurate

Regulation 42 prohibits persons from knowingly making or causing an entry in their records that is false and misleading in respect of Schedules 4, 8 and 9 poisons. This obligation should be extended to medicinal cannabis records.

Table 8: Establishing rules for administering medicinal cannabis by amending the <strong_em>Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2006 (Vic)

Purpose

Explanation

Require a person supplied medicinal cannabis for treating a specific person only to administer it to that person

Currently, persons are prohibited by r 45 from administering poisons in Schedules 4, 8 and 9 to a person other than the person for whom the poison was supplied. These obligations should be extended to medicinal cannabis. In the absence of such an extension, because medicinal cannabis is a drug of dependence, this administration could amount to unauthorised supply and fall within Part V of the Act.

Require orders for the administration of medicinal cannabis to be legible and durable

A registered medical practitioner who orders the administration of a poison in Schedules 4, 8 or 9 is required by regulation 46 to do so in a way that is legible and durable, and must date and sign the order. These requirements should be extended to orders to administer medicinal cannabis.

Set rules for the administration of medicinal cannabis by nurses

Regulation 47(1) sets out the circumstances in which a nurse may administer a Schedule 9 poison consistently with the directions for use or instructions by a registered medical practitioner. These rules should be adapted to the administration of medicinal cannabis by a nurse.

If a new regulation on the possession of medicinal cannabis were inserted, attention would have to be given to r 47(1)(e), which refers to r 5(2) and (3) to determine when a nurse may administer cannabis.

Restrict the self-administration and prohibiting the self-authorisation and self-supply of medicinal cannabis

Regulation 48 restricts the circumstances in which a person can self-administer poisons in Schedules 4, 8 and 9. It prohibits medical practitioners from self-prescribing or self-administering cannabis. The prohibitions on Schedule 9 poisons should be extended to medicinal cannabis. In adapting r 48(a), it would be necessary to reflect that cannabis is not ‘prescribed’ like a Schedule 9 poison, but is authorised.

Because medicinal cannabis is a drug of dependence, self-administration by a medical practitioner would be unauthorised supply and also fall within Part V of the Act.

Prohibit the supply or administration of medicinal cannabis to support drug dependency

Regulation 49 prohibits persons from administering, ‘prescribing’, selling or supplying drugs of dependence merely for the purpose of supporting a person’s drug dependence.

In adapting r 49, it would be necessary to reflect that medicinal cannabis is not ‘prescribed’ like a Schedule 9 poison, but is authorised.

 

 

Table 9: Establishing rules for the destruction of medicinal cannabis by amending the <strong_em>Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2006 (Vic)

Purpose

Explanation

Prohibit the wilful destruction of medicinal cannabis

Currently, r 50 prohibits persons from wilfully destroying poisons in Schedules 8 and 9. This prohibition should be extended to medicinal cannabis.

Create exceptions to the rule that medicinal cannabis must not be wilfully destroyed

Regulation 51 creates a number of exemptions allowing poisons in Schedules 8 and 9 to be destroyed in certain circumstances. These exemptions should be extended to medicinal cannabis.

 

Table 10: New offences under a Victorian medicinal cannabis scheme to be provided in the <strong_em>Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic) and <strong_em>Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2006 (Vic)

Conduct to be prohibited

Section capturing conduct

Explanation

An authorised patient supplies medicinal cannabis to an unauthorised person

Section 71AC

No new offence required

An authorised patient would only be authorised to possess and use medicinal cannabis; if they supplied it to another person they would be trafficking without being authorised.

A carer supplies medicinal cannabis to an unauthorised person

Section 71AC

No new offence required

A nominated carer would only be authorised to possess medicinal cannabis and to administer it to their registered patient; if they supplied to another person they would be trafficking without being authorised.

A patient misleads or deceives medical practitioner in order to obtain an Authority to Dispense to obtain medicinal cannabis

Section 78

Amendment required

Additions may be required to reflect the ‘Authority to Dispense’ procedure proposed for medicinal cannabis – presently references are only to prescriptions and orders.

A doctor seeks a permit in relation to a patient who is not eligible for medicinal cannabis

Closest offence is r 8

New offence is required

An amendment or new provision would be required because regulation 8 refers to a ‘prescription’.

Medicinal practitioners who issued an Authority to Dispense medicinal cannabis would not be required to ‘prescribe’. Authorising a person who is ineligible should still be penalised.

A pharmacist supplies cannabis products which were not made under government licence

Sections 71 to 71AC

No new offence required

Pharmacists would only be authorised to possess and supply ‘medicinal cannabis products’ made under licence and supplied by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Supply of other products would contravene the prohibition on trafficking.

A person other than a pharmacist supplies cannabis products (whether or not made under government licence)

Sections 27, 71 to 71AC

No new offence required

Only pharmacists would be authorised to supply medicinal cannabis products. Anyone else who does so would engage in:

  • the sale of a poison or controlled substance when not authorised or licensed to do so, and
  • trafficking.

A person other than a licensed cultivator grows cannabis for medicinal purposes

Sections 72 to 72B

No new offence required

Under the scheme, only licensed cultivators would be authorised to cultivate cannabis for medicinal purposes. Anyone else who does so engages in cultivating a narcotic plant without being authorised or licensed to do so.

A person other than a licensed manufacturer produces medicinal cannabis products

Sections 23, 71 to 71AC

No new offence required

Under the scheme, only licensed manufacturers would be authorised to manufacture medicinal cannabis products. Anyone else who did so would engage in:

  • trafficking a drug of dependence in contravention of s 71AC (manufacture is within the meaning of traffick)
  • and the manufacture of a poison or controlled substance when not authorised or licensed to do so in contravention of s 23.

If the manufacturer did not have a licence from the Commonwealth, they would also probably breach the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 (Cth).

An employee of a cultivator or manufacturer misappropriates cannabis without authority of the employer or outside of the terms of their statutory authorisation

Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) s 74

No new offence required

This would be theft. If the cannabis was sold or given to a third party it would also be trafficking.

A licensed cultivator or manufacturer supplies cannabis to someone other than a licensed manufacturer/the Office of Medicinal Cannabis

Sections 71 to 71AC

No new offence required

This conduct would be outside what cultivators and manufacturers are licensed to do, and would therefore amount to trafficking in a drug of dependence.

A person represents that a product they are selling is an approved medicinal cannabis product when it is not.

The closest offence is that of ‘trafficking’ in sections 71 to 71AC

New offence could be created

This conduct would punish persons who sold unapproved medicinal cannabis products under false pretences. Such conduct would be trafficking in a drug of dependence in a way that is unauthorised by the Act and captured by ss 71 to 71AC.

If the government wished to punish this offence differently or make the fault elements of the offence clearer, it could create a new offence covering this conduct.

 

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