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Australia: Medical cannabis industry calls for steering committee

Planning and building a commercially sustainable regulatory framework is essential for any industry to grow.

Recently media have reported untested medical cannabis products on sale in Australia, effectively unregulated imports. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) was reported as confirming it hadn't tested imported medicinal cannabis for over 12 months due to budgetary constraints, thus, differing standards exist for domestically grown and imported medicinal cannabis, and a failure to protect Australian patients.

Australia's medicinal cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing in the world.

"We've got to get out in front ahead of industry growth" said Tom Varga, CEO of Biortica Agrimed, Australia's largest B2B grower of medicinal cannabis.

"Overseas experience has proven that legalisation before an effective regulatory framework has been put in place just doesn't work, " he said. "We have a chance to get it right in Australia."

"We've got to realise we're building an industry here. The sooner we get a defined, workable, enforced, regulatory framework, and a fully funded regulator the better," he said.

Where to begin?

"I'd personally recommend the immediate formation of an Industry Steering Committee, comprised of regulators, legislators, medical professionals and major industry participants," he said, "to help the legislature frame regulations that work: -regulations that get patients the medication they need, that protect patients' health, that are straight-forward for regulators to administer, and easy and clear for the industry to understand," he said.

"An ideal steering committee might comprise regulatory experts from the TGA, a forward-looking legislator like Rachel Payne, MP, forward looking medical professionals like Prof. Steve Robinson, President of the AMA, Dr Michael Clements, of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), Gail Wiseman and Dr Teresa Nicoletti of the AMCA (Australian Medicinal Cannabis Association), Dr Kym Jenkins, fmr. Chair of the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC)," in addition to and representatives from industry," he said.

"Biortica welcomes the opportunity to work with legislators, and regulators, the TGA, AMA, RACGP, AMCA, CPMC and our industry colleagues to put in place the regulatory framework which puts patient care and protection to the forefront," said Mr. Varga.

For more information:
Biortica Agrimed

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