Cairns patients can access medicinal cannabis in early 2017
New legislation passed in state parliament make it easier for local patients to access medicinal cannabis, but delays remain until Australian-grown products become available.
Patients in the Tropical North will be able to access medicinal cannabis from registered GPs early next year.
New legislation unanimously passed by sides of politics in state parliament last night means Queensland has the nation's most progressive medicinal cannabis laws.
Long-time medicinal cannabis advocate Warren Entsch MP welcomed the move.
But he warned patients "who do not have time to waste" were still waiting months for access to medicinal cannabis imported from overseas.
Mr Entsch said duplication between state and federal application processes was unnecessarily stressful for patients.
"While we're waiting for the first Australian-produced product to become available, I'd caution Queensland that it still needs to streamline its assessment process for people seeking to import medicinal cannabis products from overseas under the Federal Government's Special Access Scheme or Authorized Prescriber schemes," Mr Entsch said.
"There are significant delays in processing the applications because the Queensland Government, in assessing applicants under the state's Drugs Misuse Act 1986, is duplicating the Therapeutic Goods Administration's already very-comprehensive assessment of patients' medical histories and proposed treatment regime.
"Having Queensland request and assess the same information from applicants is extending the approvals process by months and months, and putting extra financial and emotional pressure on patients who do not have time to waste."
State Health Minister Cameron Dick said the new legislation provided a "comprehensive medical oversight" for the prescription of the drug in Queensland.
“Queensland is leading Australia in providing a pathway to access medicinal cannabis treatment for those who need it most, in a safe, controlled way,” Mr Dick said.
“We understand the importance of providing holistic care to patients and that’s why we have made this treatment available legally.
"The use of medicinal cannabis will be integrated into patient treatment plans and overseen by a medical practitioner, to ensure the right monitoring and controls are in place."