Queensland registered veterinarians have professional responsibilities under the provisions of the Medicines and Poisons (Medicines) Regulation 2021 in particular in respect to controlled drugs (S8) and restricted drugs (S4).

A person must not be in possession of a controlled or restricted drug without authority.

Veterinarians are authorised, only to the extent necessary to practise veterinary science, to obtain, possess, administer and dispense prescription drugs.

The misuse of prescription drugs by authorised persons including veterinarians is a serious offence and prosecution can result in conviction with heavy monetary penalties and loss of veterinary registration.

Currently, most cannabis-products are unregistered medicines, that is they are not listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, as such access is limited to specific pathways under the Commonwealth Therapeutic Goods Act 1989.

Cannabis-based products include Schedule 8 medicines which are for human therapeutic use only. They cannot be prescribed by veterinary surgeons.

With regard to cannabidiol (CBD), that is a schedule 4 product if used for therapeutic purposes (human or animal). Veterinary surgeons may prescribe these products. However, to be classed as cannabidiol, the total amount of cannabinoids present must not exceed 2%. If this is not the case, then the product would revert to schedule 9 and be a prohibited substance which cannot be prescribed by a veterinary surgeon.

Any possession of a schedule 4 medicine without a valid prescription is an offence, so if clients are sourcing the oil from the internet they may be committing offences under the Medicines and Poisons Act 2019.

The authorisation for veterinary surgeons to deal with medicines is contained in Schedule 11 of the Medicines and Poisons (Medicines) Regulation 2021.

For more information in relation to requirements under the Medicines and Poisons Act 2019, please refer to the Fact Sheet – Key Legislative Requirements for Veterinary Surgeons.

Last updated: 22 Jun 2023