Information will be updated here as it becomes available. Check back for updates! Please note; while we aim to keep this pages fully up to date with the latest information, cannabis laws are always changing. We encourage you to verify these rules and regulations in the official legal text, which we’ve linked throughout the page for your convenience.
Australia passed legislation in 2016 to allow the cultivation of cannabis for medical and research-related purposes. Their medical cannabis program is operated by the Office of Drug Control (ODC).
There are three (3) types of licences relating to medical cannabis:
All licence applicants are subject to regulations; regulations include detail on the “fit and proper person” test, which involves consideration of the applicant’s criminal history, financial viability, business history and capacity to comply with licensing requirements.
Cultivators (also commonly referred to as Producers or Growers) – Cultivators are responsible for growing cannabis. Mature plants are harvested and transferred to a Processor.
A cultivator must hold either a medicinal cannabis licence or a cannabis research licence granted by the ODC to cultivate cannabis for medicinal or research-related purposes.
A medicinal cannabis licence authorises either cultivation (the growing of cannabis plants) or production (the separation of cannabis and cannabis resin), or both.
There is no restriction on the number of licences that can be granted; however, under international conventions, the overall quantities produced must not exceed domestic requirements. Therefore, the number of cultivators that will be licensed to grow and supply cannabis to licensed manufacturers will depend on the demand from prescribers and the patient groups they treat.
ODC will not be able to grant a medicinal cannabis licence unless it is satisfied that the cultivation and production of cannabis is for supply either to a person licensed to produce cannabis or a person licensed to manufacture medicinal cannabis products. In practice, this may mean the applicant demonstrating that they are known to the producer/manufacturer and that producer/manufacturer is willing to enter into contracts for the supply of cannabis raw material.
When applying for a permit, a licensee will need to have, and submit to ODC, a contract with the producer/manufacturer that satisfies any requirements set out in the regulations.
Mixed use crops (i.e. separating cannabis from the plant for medicinal/research purposes and using the remainder for industrial purposes) are not permitted under both Australian domestic legislation and international drug conventions. Therefore, cannabis grown for medicinal purposes will need to be grown and used solely for that purpose. A person may hold a medicinal cannabis licence from ODC and an industrial hemp licence from the relevant state/territory, but will have to maintain strict separation between the two crops and comply with the applicable security requirements. Regular site inspections will be undertaken to ensure compliance.
A cannabis research licence authorises the cultivation and/or production of cannabis for research related to the medicinal use of cannabis.
In order to obtain a cannabis research licence, an applicant will need to explain the purpose of the research and how it relates to medicinal cannabis and/or medicinal cannabis products. See the forms and guidance section of the website for further guidance on research activities.
A cultivator may cultivate for both medicinal purposes and related research purposes, but they will need to hold licences and appropriate permits for each.
In all cases the licensee will need to hold a permit(s) issued under the ND Act before any cultivation or production commences.
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Manufacturers can produce medical cannabis byproducts using the cannabis plant.
A person may apply for a licence to manufacture narcotic drugs involving cannabis under the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 (ND Act).
You must hold both a ND Act licence and a permit before manufacture can occur.
There are several factors to consider when making an application.
Persons licensed under the ND Act to manufacture medicinal cannabis products will be able to enter into contractual arrangements with cannabis cultivators/producers to produce cannabis.
Cultivation of cannabis may not commence until both parties (cultivator and manufacturer) hold permits.
A permit may not be issued if the manufacturer does not hold the appropriate state/territory licences/authorisations or if the manufacturer does not hold a GMP licence from the TGA.
Applicants will be subject to a fit and proper test. This may be in addition to any test undertaken by a state/territory Government.
A licence issued under the ND Act does not compel a state or territory to issue any applicable licences required (i.e. licence to manufacture, wholesale, supply) under their respective legislation.
Information will be updated here as it becomes available.
Australia is yet to release a final list of qualifying conditions for patients to access medical cannabis.
Caregivers grow and process cannabis on behalf of patients. They cannot charge for cannabis, only recoup the costs of goods.
Current Estimated Patient Counts: TBD
State and territory governments, in conjunction with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), will determine which patient groups will receive access to medicinal cannabis products and what medicinal cannabis products can be manufactured.
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