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Cannabis suppliers get green light in Queensland but patients will still have to pay

Lindsay and lanai Carter. THE state government has amended laws to allow licensed cannabis growers and researchers to supply seeds to Australia’s medicinal cannabis market. The amendment, under the Drugs Misuse Act 1986, follows this year’s federal move to allow certain suppliers to import the drug. Logan family Lanai Carter and her teen son Lindsay hope to one day benefit from the changes. But Mrs Carter said it could still be months before she would be able to get prescriptions for the domestically-produced drug for her son. She said it was still unknown whether actions at the state and federal levels would help reduce the price and make the drug more affordable. Last month, the federal government issued the country’s first licence for cultivating the drug and relaxed the law to allow certified cannabis suppliers to import. Mrs Carter said it was difficult to work out pricing of any imported medicinal cannabis as the type and quality of imports was still unknown. However, she said listing the drug on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme was likely to make it more affordable. Some regulated suppliers sell cannabis products for between $9000 and $15,000 for three months’ supply. “We have already started having conversations with the government about whether it (putting it on the PBS) will pick up the cost but to no avail,” she said. “But getting the medicine on the PBS could take years.” To ensure affordable medicinal cannabis, Mrs Carter and Grace Sands founded the Medical Cannabis Advisory Group in 2015 to lobby for more efficient and affordable access to the drug. State Health Minister Cameron Dick said affordability would remain an issue until the federal government listed the drug and all the derivatives on the PBS. However, Mr Dick said his request to federal health Minister Greg Hunt to subsidise the drug was rejected and he asked him to reconsider.

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