The Office of Drug Control (ODC) has unveiled its first-ever business plan, pledging to review its current cost model following the implementation of the new medicinal cannabis single licence scheme.

The review, which will be put forward for government consideration, will include a proposal to implement “appropriate fees and charges”, as well as publishing specific service levels for the processing of medicinal cannabis licence and permit applications.

The ODC’s January-June 2022 business plan states: “The activities of the ODC are supported through industry cost recovery for its medicinal cannabis activities, and direct government funding for other activities. 

Professor John Skerritt: committed to reducing the regulatory burden and increasing operational flexibility for industry. 

“We are committed to regularly reviewing our fees and charges to enable government decisions on appropriate charging rates and to ensure consistency with the Australian government charging framework and industry expectations.”

As part of its commitment to transparency, the ODC will publish its first compliance and enforcement framework document, to provide the industry with clarity on its approach to monitoring and compliance activities as well as a set of key performance indicators for 2022-23.

The business plan commits the ODC to the implementation of “a risk-based approach to regulation and compliance, to ensure that resources are applied to areas of greatest risk or concern”. 

However, it will continue to monitor whether entities are complying with relevant legislation, policies and procedures, in accordance with their licence conditions, and to undertake planned and unannounced inspections, virtually and on-site.

It adds: “Our challenge is to ensure that regulation is appropriate to manage risk while not unnecessarily impeding the operations of the entities we regulate. Our compliance and enforcement  responses will remain proportionate to the risk posed to maintaining the integrity of the regulatory framework. 

“The ODC is committed to enhancing its stakeholder engagement and education activities, including in response to emerging issues and trends, and to assist businesses to comply with their regulatory requirements.”

Introducing the business plan, ODC deputy secretary Professor John Skerritt said the single licence framework and simplified permit arrangements were “aimed at reducing the regulatory burden and increasing operational flexibility for industry”. 

To view the ODC’s Business Plan: January-June 2022, click here.

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...

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