Australian newspaper, The Advocate, based in Tasmania provides the details

The Australian Medical Association has backed the government’s restricted approach on access to medical cannabis, saying it will be available to those who need it most.

Children with high-level epilepsy and some cancer patients will be able to access the drug through a controlled access scheme to be opened from Friday.

The drug will be available by prescription to patients where other therapies and drugs have failed to sooth ailments.

Labor justice spokeswoman Lara Giddings said it was unknown how many patients would receive access to medicinal cannabis, labelling the scheme cumbersome and confusing.

“It’s going to take time for people to even see a specialist before they could have medicinal cannabis prescribed to them,” she said.

“There are still genuine, legitimate concerns that access to medicinal cannabis will still be far too restrictive.

Australian Medical Association state president Stuart Day said doctors were happy with the scheme’s developments so far.

He said accessing medicinal cannabis from a general practitioner was too cost-prohibitive for patients at present as it did not fall under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

The drug, administered by hospital pharmacies by oncologists, neurologists, and radiotherapists, is currently being subsidised by the state government.

Dr Day said there was no concern that the drug would not reach those that needed it most given that children with high-level epilepsy and cancer patients already had access to hospital-based specialists.

Meanwhile, the Greens believed there was still uncertainty around the legal status of people that grew cannabis for medicinal use.

Bass Greens MHA Andrea Dawkins said police had to use their own discretion when it came to deciding whether to charge somebody in possession of the drug for medical reasons.

She said people already using the drug before the opening of the controlled access scheme needed protection through a medicinal cannabis registration system, similar to that in place in New South Wales.

Government minister Matthew Groom said the opposition parties were just trying to pick a problem with a positive development.