Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

16 March 2021

Sarah Courtney, Minister for Health

Improvements to Tasmania’s Controlled Access Scheme for medicinal cannabis

We’re investing more into the essential services Tasmanians need, including our health system, so Tasmanians can get the care they need when they need it.

In the first term of the current Liberal Government, Tasmania led the country in calling for a national, evidence-based response to provide safe access to medical cannabis.

The opening of Tasmania’s Controlled Access Scheme in 2017 marked a significant step forward in this policy area, and, as noted around the time of the launch, the scheme was not restricted by age or disease, which allowed broader access than other states.

I am pleased the Premier today announced that the Government will be making improvements to Tasmania’s Controlled Access Scheme.

Changes will be made to increase access to unregistered medical cannabis products in Tasmania, which will include authorising Tasmanian General Practitioners to prescribe medical cannabis products, and allowing more pharmacies across the State to be able to dispense these products.

Subject to necessary approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration, Tasmania will also adopt the national streamlined online application pathway and 48 hour authorisation timeframe.

The Government is aware that changes have been made across the other states and territories to expand their schemes in recent years, which is why the changes to the Tasmanian scheme have been made to be consistent with the models adopted in other jurisdictions.

Importantly, the Controlled Access Scheme will also remain in place, and will be reviewed, to ensure there is continued subsidised access by Tasmanians with a serious illness, which has not responded to conventional therapies, when prescribed through the medical specialist pathway.

The Department of Health will shortly be undertaking targeted consultation with key stakeholders regarding the changes, with the commencement of the new access scheme to commence from 1 July this year.

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