A Comprehensive Guide to Legal Medical Marijuana: Does Your Condition Qualify?

Why Medical Marijuana Laws Differ From Place to Place

The medicinal effects of cannabis has been widely acknowledged globally. Since the 1970s, the research has been embodied in pro-cannabis laws enacted in various places across Europe and the U.S. Many of these laws have been modified or overturned with the emergence of more evidence regarding cannabis. Medical cannabis laws are usually based on scientific findings, and can therefore be amended or repealed in the light of newer findings.


Several factors contribute to the differences in medical marijuana laws adopted in various jurisdictions. Source

Another muddying factor in the marijuana landscape is that pro medical marijuana laws come in varying forms across various jurisdictions, and what is legal in one jurisdiction might be illegal in another. And to further complicate matters, medical marijuana laws must take into account the differences in the medicinal profiles of various marijuana strains.

In general, medical marijuana laws determine who qualifies to buy what type of cannabis-based products. Some pro-cannabis laws even permit patients to grow the plant for their use, and also permit caregivers to help patients obtain the drug.

Australia’s medical cannabis laws make legal access to the drug quite complicated. In addition to a few regulations on the federal level, there are a variety of specific cannabis laws adopted by various states. Both state and federal medical cannabis laws seem to qualify only patients with severe conditions for medical cannabis use. Nonetheless, you can find all the information you need about existing cannabis laws on official sites of state governments.


Medical Marijuana Laws across Various Places in Australia

The proportion of cannabis users in Australia’s population is one of the highest in the world. Although the drug has been outlawed in the country since the 1960’s, the Australian government has largely avoided dealing out punitive drug measures. As such, medical marijuana patients have been able to defend themselves by arguing the necessity of their drug use.

On November 1, 2017, the Australian government gave medical marijuana the legislative green light. Earlier on that year, Victoria became the first state to legalise cannabis. And soon afterward, other states and territories states enacted their own cannabis laws. The following is a breakdown of medical marijuana laws in various states:

  • New South Wales: Legal for use by patients with terminal illness.
  • Northern Territories: Stands by federal medical cannabis laws.
  • South Australia: Doctors can prescribe the drug under stipulated conditions.
  • Tasmania: The state government’s Controlled Access Scheme allows patients of various ailments to access medical cannabis.
  • West Australia: The laws here stipulate certain conditions under which doctors can prescribe the drug for patients.
  • Victoria: Legalised for the treatment of children with rare, severe types of epilepsy.
  • Queensland: Legalised for a range of conditions including multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS and cancer.


Where Can You Get Legal Medical Marijuana in Australia?

In order to access medical marijuana in Australia, a certified doctor needs to vouch that medical marijuana can help your medical condition regardless of any possible side effects. Doctors who prescribe marijuana are usually obliged to provide details of the patient’s diagnosis, and the cannabis products that might help improve the medical condition of the patient.


A Medical marijuana card or a doctor’s prescription is needed in order to obtain medical marijuana in Australia. Source

Patients can obtain medical cannabis from dispensaries and pharmacies by showing either the doctor’s referral and prescription or a medical marijuana card. Dispensaries and pharmacies sell marijuana products to people based on laws in the region. The script or card may be accepted for as long as the patient’s medical condition persists, or for as long as the doctor continues to care for the patient. People who qualify for medical marijuana are also allowed to grow the plant for their own consumption depending on the regional laws.


How is Medical Marijuana Administered?

Medical marijuana laws in many states do not stipulate the type or form of marijuana products that patients can legally obtain. Many marijuana patients prefer to smoke or vape the drug, since smoking delivers the effects more rapidly than other delivery systems. Others wary of the risks associated with smoking consume cannabis products via other methods, including through edibles, capsules, tinctures, and extracts.

It’s usually left to the patients to determine what dosages are the most effective. Medical marijuana laws in various states don’t specifically outline dosages, although they might set limits to the maximum amount that can be obtained or grown over a length of time.

While it is technically possible to obtain medical marijuana products in Australia, the laws and practical constraints make it very difficult, even for the small group of people who have their doctor’s permission. However, the tide of public opinion is shifting and it might not be long before marijuana products become more accessible. People looking to access legal medical marijuana will need to research their local laws, find a doctor who is able and willing to prescribe to them, find a dispensary, and hopefully then be able to access the products to relieve their condition.