Australia: WA State Government to 'fast-track' medicinal cannabis prescriptions

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The State Government will ‘fast track’ the availability of medicinal cannabis for people in pain, the terminally ill and those suffering a chronic condition.

Premier Mark McGowan and Health Minister Roger Cook will convene a meeting of medical leaders in June to discuss the best way forward to encourage doctors to prescribe the drug.

Premier McGowan has long supported the prescription of medicinal cannabis.

Premier McGowan has long supported the prescription of medicinal cannabis.  Photo: Rohan Thomson

“I’ve met many Western Australians along the way who will benefit by having their doctor be able to prescribe them medicinal cannabis,” Mr McGowan said. 

“I want to make sure that medical professionals and the wider community are fully aware of what is now possible.”

Dr Andrew Katelaris is one of Australia's biggest medicinal cannabis suppliers.

Dr Andrew Katelaris is one of Australia’s biggest medicinal cannabis suppliers.  Photo: Rohan Thomson

The government is calling the meeting with medical leaders an ‘urgent roundtable discussion’, and will include patient organisations, the Health Consumers Council, GPs and the Department of Health. 

Cannabis-based products could be legally prescribed in accordance with strict regulations since November 2016, with the Department of Health able to approve specialist doctors as Cannabis-Based Prescribers. But no health practitioners in WA have applied to prescribe the drug. 

Across Australia 45 applications to cultivate or manufacture the drug have been received, with six proposals from WA.

“Western Australians suffering in pain deserve our support and to be able to have access to the appropriate medicine,” Mr McGowan said.

“This has been something I have wanted to see happen for a long time now.

“We have come far since my calls in 2014, however now is the time for government to take the lead and ensure the wider community has the right information to take the next step.”

Health Minister Roger Cook said the June roundtable would include health consumer representatives and key medical groups representing medical practitioners that manage conditions with evidence where medicinal cannabis has benefits.

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Source: 420Intel – Medical Cannabis

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