Medicinal cannabis has just been legalised in Western Australia. Medicinal cannabis, also referred to as medical marijuana, has been classified as a controlled drug nationally from 1 November 2016. Medicinal cannabis is a term that refers to preparations made from crude or raw cannabis.
From 1 November, medicinal cannabis products may be prescribed by a specialist doctor. Despite the change to legislation, it is unlikely that medicinal cannabis will be available until early 2017. They will not be available over the counter.
Medicinal cannabis products will not be on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Patients will have to pay for the full cost of the product on a private script. Raw cannabis and smoking of cannabis will not be approved as forms of medical marijuana.
These changes have not legalised the growing or use of cannabis for non-medical purposes.
Cannabis remains a prohibited Schedule 9 substance in WA, making it illegal to cultivate, possess, use, sell or supply cannabis.
The Misuse of Drugs Act 1981 is in place to prevent the misuse of certain drugs and plants such as cannabis.
Please note, CHP does not provide or have access to any medicinal cannabis formulations.
Access to medicinal cannabis
If you have questions relating to accessing medicinal cannabis, please contact your GP.
There is also useful guidance information on the Australian Government’s Department of Health website
What does this mean for workplace drug testing in WA?
We have been asked this question a few times in the past few weeks.
Medicinal cannabis will most likely only be prescribed to manage a small number of serious chronic illnesses and associated pain and symptoms. It will not be readily available to all who request it.
For workplace drug testing medicinal cannabis should be treated just as any other prescription drug that may effect fitness for work. We would recommend you seek a letter from the employee’s prescribing physician stating current medicinal cannabis prescription and any likely implications on their fitness for work during treatment.
It is unlikely that medicinal cannabis preparations will be available in Perth until early Dec 2017.
Feel free to contact us to discuss this issue further….