The industry of medical marijuanas in NSW has been an interesting one to follow, particularly in recent years, with each state containing its own rules and regulations when it comes to access. New South Wales is an interesting state regarding the prescribing and attitude toward medicinal cannabis, especially when compared to other states in the country and their laxer attitude toward certain aspects of the industry.
Debates surrounding all facets of medical marijuanas in NSW have raged for quite some time, from driving laws involving the definitions of incapacitation, the pricing problem with affordability for Australians, and the notion of accessibility and eligibility. The latter will be the focus of today’s article.
Undoubtedly, many have noticed the rise of telehealth and online health services that offer patients slightly easier pathways for medical marijuanas in NSW. There is, however, still a long way to travel.
To understand it all, we’re going to go over how access to medical marijuanas in NSW was, how it is now, and how it could change in the future.
The Landmark Change
Since the landmark adjustment made in 2016 to the Narcotic Drugs Act (1967), practitioners across the country have been able to prescribe medicinal cannabis to patients under strict conditional circumstances and provisional approval.
The adjustment paved the way for destigmatising medical marijuanas in NSW and the rest of the country. While it still has naysayers in the community, the results continue to speak for themselves.
The initial accessibility and eligibility criteria were understandably tight, considering the context of cannabis in the eyes of the law. Until then, possession of the substance in any capacity was considered a crime. So naturally, there were a number of roadblocks put up to ensure compliance and safety were maintained.
The initial approvals process for medical marijuanas in NSW was quite cumbersome and a little counterintuitive. Originally, doctors who wished to prescribe medical marijuanas in NSW had to gain individual approval from several entities for each prospective prescription. Permissions were necessary from the Therapeutic Goods Administration via the Special Access Scheme, and in certain states, there were further approvals from Governing health bodies also.
The whole process was cumbersome for physicians and patients especially. For the doctors, the frustration stemmed from the fact that they had to gain multiple approvals that were time-consuming and red-tape-laden. This resulted in delayed prescriptions and growing frustrations for patients.
However, this all changed at the tail end of 2021.
Currently, medical marijuanas in NSW have become slightly easier to access when compared with the initial few years. This stems from a particular change of access implemented at the end of 2021, particularly with respect to the framework and application processes for ‘unapproved’ cannabis products.
The streamlining removed the unnecessary administrative burdens that were plaguing doctors and causing delays in prescriptions. The changes culminated with a reworking of categories that were associated with medicinal cannabis and simplified the approvals process by requiring approval for a particular category instead of individual products.
This not only made life easier for physicians, but it also ensured patients had an easier time receiving their medications with the category system encompassing similar product options within.
While the changes made in 2021 have helped ease stress for those looking for medical marijuanas in NSW, there is still some way to go. Notably, the reputation and scientific backing for medical marijuanas in NSW will hopefully signify further accessibility for patients and doctors in the future.
Medical marijuanas in NSW will continue to be debated across the public domain, but we are certainly looking forward to seeing what new developments arise in the industry.