International Narcotics Control Board
Oversees implementation of UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, to which Australia is a signatory. Monitors the global production, distribution and use of all legally produced substances named in the Convention.
Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee

Tasked with considering and holding a Public Inquiry into the Regulator of Medicinal Cannabis Bill in 2015.

Inter Governmnetal Committee on Drugs

The Intergovernmental Committee on Drugs (IGCD) manages the ongoing work of the National Drug Strategy. The committee is a Commonwealth, state and territory government forum of senior officers who represent health and law enforcement agencies in each Australian jurisdiction and New Zealand. Both this organisation and COAG played important roles in helping determine Goverment policy on medical cannabis.

COAG – the Council of Australian Governments

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) is the peak intergovernmental forum in Australia.

The members of COAG are the Prime Minister, State and Territory Premiers and Chief Ministers and the President of the Australian Local Government Association.

Both this organisation and the IGCD played important roles in helping determine Goverment policy on medical cannabis.

Department of Health

Runs almost everything to do with drugs generally, medicinal and otherwise, including cannabis.

National Drug Strategy

Deals with issues relating to illicit drug use. Department of Health-funded organisations / schemes like the National Drugs Campaign, Alcohol and Drug Foundation, Australian Drug Information Network, National Drug Law Enforcement Fund (NDLERF), Drug Advisory Council of Australia feed into and are informed by the Strategy.

National Medicines Policy

a complicated jigsaw puzzle comprising a variety of different bodies, agencies, regulations, guidelines and processes, each, either now or in the future, playing a part, great or small, in the area of medicinal cannabis.

Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) Strategy

Part of the National Medicines Policy, the Strategy aims to ‘make the best possible use of medicines to improve health outcomes for all Australians’ an uses various agencies and means to achieve this.

Medicines Regulation Division (MRD)

Division within Health Products Regulation Group. Via its Prescription Medicines Authorisation Branch oversees all applications – to register and supply all (or just about all) new medications to Australia.

Therapeutic Goods Administration, or TGA.

Body within Department of Health, the TGA ‘safeguards and enhances the health of the Australian community through effective and timely regulation of therapeutic goods.’ The TGA is responsible for regulating the supply, import, export, manufacturing and advertising of therapeutic goods.

Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling (ACMS)

Part of the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Oversees Australia’s ‘Poison Standard’ – in full the Standard Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons (or SUSMP) – a segmented (or ‘Scheduled’) list numbered 1- 10, indexing (and thus cementing in law) the supposed degree of toxicity of all substances considered dangerous (and / or of medical benefit). Cannabis was moved from Schedule 9 (Prohibited Substance’) to Schedule 8 (Controlled Substance) in November 2016.

Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG)

Part of the Therapeutic Goods Administration in particular its Prescription Medicines Authorisation Branch. Specifies which medicines can by law be supplied in this country. The Register is governed by the Therapeutic Goods Regulations 1990, (applied using the Poison Standard) and aside it an onerous ‘Prescription Medicines Registration Process‘ which any future products falling under the Regulations must undergo before being included on the Register.

Prescription Medicines Authorisation Branch (TGA)

Oversees ‘Prescription Medicines Registration Process‘ to register and supply all (or just about all) new medications to Australia and also the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). No medicine is eligible for subsidy via the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme unless it is ARTG-registered. The MRD is additionally responsible for ‘Pharmacovigilance‘ making sure products are of the requisite quality ..

Scientific Evaluation Branch (TGA)

Part of the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Reviews and appraises relevant scientific research, including, one must assume, clinical and other trials current or in the future around medicinal cannabis.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)

The PBS subsidises access to necessary medicines. Part of the broader National Medicines Policy, the PBS is governed by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee. The Committee decides which medicines will be included on the PBS Schedule and therefore subsidised by the Goverment. Only medicines listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) can be considered for inclusion.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee

The Committee oversees and implements the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme which is part of the broader National Medicines Policy subsidising access to necessary medicines. The Committee decides which medicines will be included on the PBS Schedule and therefore Government-subsidised. Only medicines listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) can be considered for inclusion on the PBS Schedule.

Office of Drug Control (ODC)

The specially-creted ODC is responsible for regulating the import, export and to some extent the manufacture of controlled drugs (including cannabis and its cultivation) is the institution responsible for issuing licences and permits for cultivation of cannabis and – with States and Territories – to manufacturers that need it to make products. The licencing of cultivation of cannabis and manufacture of cannabis products are goverened by the Narcotic Drugs Regulation issued on 1st November 2016.

The ODC has published Guidelines about all of this, covering manufacturing licence applications, how to complete application forms, compliance, enforcement and inspections, fees and charges, record keeping and reporting (important to the Office because of Australia’s commitment to the UN Single Convention on Drugs), security, and the much-talked-of ‘fit and proper persons’ requirement of licence holders and their staff. The information is summarised here and in a document published by the ODC on 1st November 2016. Application forms for all licences and permits are also the ODC website.

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)

Expert advisory body to Government, the medical professions and other interested parties from both public and private sectors. Part of its responsibility is research funding, thus for example, it provides money to the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales. The NHMRC is also, among other things, home to Australian Health Ethics Committee (AHEC).

Australian Health Ethics Committee (AHEC)

Housed within the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Committee issues guidelines on ethical issues relating to health, including issues relating to clinical trials, especially on humans which will be likely to play a part in determining the progress and future of medical cannabis use and research in Australia.

Coming soon…..

States & Territories

Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales

Northern Territory


South Australia