Medicinal Cannabis

In December 2014, the Attorney-General asked the Commission to report on options for changes to the law to allow people to be treated with medicinal cannabis in exceptional circumstances.

In March 2015 the Commission published an issues paper that identified two areas of investigation:

  • How to define the exceptional circumstances in which a person should be allowed to use medicinal cannabis
  • How the law could be amended to enable patients to obtain medicinal cannabis while continuing to prevent unauthorised access.

The Commission held nine public consultations in metropolitan and regional Victoria. 

99 submissions were received.

The Commission delivered its report to the Attorney-General by the due date of 31 August 2015, with 42 recommendations for changes to the law to allow people to be treated with medicinal cannabis in exceptional circumstances. The report was tabled in Parliament on 6 October 2015. For a summary of the recommendations, see the media release, 'Medicinal cannabis report published'.

The report and issues paper can be downloaded from the links below.

Implementation

6 October 2015 - The Victorian Government announced that it fully accepted 40 of the Commission's recommendations and accepted two in principle. It announced that it would legalise access to medicinal cannabis in exceptional circumstances from 2017. Government media release: 'Medicinal cannabis to be legalised in Victoria'.

8 December 2015 - The Access to Medicinal Cannabis Bill (Vic) was introduced into Parliament

29 February 2016 - Narcotic Drugs Amendment Bill 2016 (Cth) passed, establishing licensing and permit schemes for the cultivation and production of cannabis and cannabis resin for medicinal and scientific purposes

12 April 2016 - Access to Medicinal Cannabis Act 2016 (Vic) passed, enabling access to medicinal cannabis to defined groups of patients, including those with severe epilepsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis and HIV/AIDS. 

28 September 2016 - Access to Medicinal Cannabis Regulations 2016 (Vic) passed, prescribing who can dispense medicinal cannabis and what information needs to kept on the approved medicinal cannabis product, and practitioner authorisations registers. Also regulated is the information to be specified in authorising medicinal cannabis access.

1 November 2016 - Medicinal cannabis became a controlled drug in the Poisons Standard (Cth) (Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons).  As a result of this change, medicinal cannabis can be prescribed under the provisions of a controlled drug (Schedule 8). However, whether medicinal cannabis can be prescribed in a particular jurisdiction depends on whether the state or territory has adopted the change.

21 February 2017 – First crop of medicinal cannabis is harvested in Victoria

15 August 2017 – Australian Government’s Office of Drug Control released the Medicinal cannabis cultivation and production licences - testing of cannabis and cannabis resin policy document that defines what can and cannot be done in testing.

17 September 2017 – Office of Medicinal Cannabis is established with the Department of Health and Human Services and is responsible for establishing the Victorian medicinal cannabis framework.

Current – There are no legal locally produced medicinal cannabis products available in Australia. However, there are pathways available to legally access imported medicinal cannabis via the Special Access and Authorised Prescriber Schemes, which are administered by the Commonwealth Therapeutic Goods Administration. All medicinal cannabis products need to be prescribed by a medical practitioner as part of an overall treatment plan.

See also: Parliamentary of Victoria's Research Note - Access to Medicinal Cannabis Bill 2015  

 

Timeline

Current: Table in parliament

Full timeline:

Reference
Consultation
Submissions
Final report
Tabled in parliament
View full timeline

Project Publications

Medicinal Cannabis: Report (pdf)

The Commission's report on medicinal cannabis was tabled in Parliament on 6 October 2015.  Download a pdf or a Word document of the report from the...

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Medicinal Cannabis: Report (html)

The Commission's report on medicinal cannabis was tabled in Parliament on 6 October 2015.  Navigate the document using the menu on the right....

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Medicinal Cannabis: received submissions

The Commission received the following submissions in response to the issues paper for the medicinal cannabis reference. See the links below to the...

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Medicinal Cannabis - Issues Paper

Note that submissions have now closed.  Download the issues paper from the link at the bottom of this page.  The Victorian Government has asked the...

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Terms of reference - Medicinal cannabis

Matter referred to the Commission pursuant to section 5(1) of the Victorian Law Reform Commission Act 2000 by the Victorian Attorney-General, the Hon...

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