Victorian patients and their families will be able to legally access medicinal cannabis in exceptional circumstances with the historic Access to Medicinal Cannabis Bill 2015 passing the Parliament today.
Victoria is the first state in Australia to make medicinal cannabis available to people in exceptional circumstances, safely, securely and lawfully.
The Bill – which delivers on the Andrews Labor Government’s election promise – creates a legal framework to enable the manufacture, supply and access to safe and high quality medicinal cannabis products in Victoria.
Children with severe epilepsy will be given first access to medicinal cannabis from early 2017.
The Government is establishing the Office of Medicinal Cannabis to oversee manufacturing and all clinical aspects of the medicinal cannabis framework.
The Office will work with clinicians, doctors and general practitioners to help them understand their role in prescribing medicinal cannabis, and with patients and families to educate them about medicinal cannabis and eligibility for the scheme.
The Government is also establishing an independent medical advisory committee to provide advice on matters including:
- Medicinal cannabis products that should be available under the Victorian access scheme
- Possible expansion of patient eligibility
- Other clinical matters
Initially, government production will supply products to the first patient group. A key step to providing ongoing access to medicinal cannabis will be the establishment of cultivation and manufacturing industries in Victoria to support an ongoing and reliable supply of products.
In the first instance, the Government is undertaking a small-scale, strictly controlled cannabis cultivation trial at a Victorian research facility.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy
“Children with severe epilepsy will now be able to legally access this life-saving treatment from as early as 2017.”
“It is absolutely heart-breaking to see families having to choose between breaking the law and watching their children suffer – and now, thanks to our ground-breaking legislation, they won’t have to.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford
“We are on track to deliver on our promise to make medicinal cannabis available to Victorian patients in exceptional circumstances, with the first cultivation trial about to get underway.”