According to the Addictive Drugs Act, only the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES; supervised by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection) is permitted to cultivate cannabis for the purpose of manufacturing pharmaceuticals as well as for related scientific purposes. The same right is granted to subsidiaries in which AGES holds at least 75% of the shares and that are founded for this purpose.
Production, manufacturing, conversion, purchase and possession of medical cannabis requires a specific authorisation for trading of pharmaceuticals according to the Austrian Trade Act. Furthermore, trade of medical cannabis products requires an authorisation issued by the Federal Ministry for Health.
There is no access for patients to cannabis in its purest form for medical use as cannabis is considered as an addictive drug according to the Addictive Drugs Act and the Ordinance for Addictive Drugs. Therefore, it in principle may not be prescribed. However, there are two exemptions for pharmaceuticals containing cannabis which may be prescribed: (i) formulations of cannabis extracts that are authorised as proprietary medicinal products, and (ii) the active substance delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol, if it has a standardised purity of more than 95% used for magistral preparations (production in the pharmacy on the basis of a medical prescription).
Violations of the Addictive Drugs Act are subject to administrative fines up to EUR 36,300 and - in case of non-collection – to imprisonment of up to six weeks. Besides, anyone who illegally purchases, owns, produces, transports, imports, exports or offers, transfers or procures cannabis to another, or cultivates the cannabis plant for the purpose of obtaining addictive drugs shall be punished with imprisonment of up to one year or with fines of up to EUR 360 daily rates. When it comes to drug trafficking on a larger scale, harsher punishments may be given.