Australia legalized medical cannabis in 2016, and it is regulated at the federal level by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) under the Special Access Scheme (SAS). The SAS allows doctors to apply to the TGA for approval to prescribe medical cannabis products that are not registered with the TGA, but have been approved by regulatory authorities overseas or are being used in clinical trials.
To obtain medical cannabis under the SAS, patients must have a valid prescription from an authorized prescriber, such as a medical practitioner, who must demonstrate that other conventional treatments have been tried and have failed, or are likely to fail, before medical cannabis is considered.
In 2018, the Australian government passed legislation to allow the legal cultivation, production, and manufacture of medical cannabis products in Australia. This created a domestic medical cannabis industry, allowing for locally produced medical cannabis products to be available to Australian patients.
Each Australian state and territory also has its own regulations regarding the use and supply of medical cannabis, with some allowing for easier access than others. In addition, there are ongoing efforts to improve patient access to medical cannabis and to expand the range of medical conditions for which it can be prescribed.
It is important to note that recreational use of cannabis is still illegal in Australia, and possession, sale, and supply of cannabis is regulated by state and territory governments. The laws vary depending on the state or territory, with some allowing for personal use and possession of small amounts, while others have a zero-tolerance approach.