Medicinal Cannabis

Although its use is illegal in Victoria, cannabis has frequently been used to eleviate certain medical symptoms. Patients who have used cannabis medicinally in this way have reported significant benefits, and many believe the laws prohibiting cannabis use ought to be changed to allow those with serious medical conditions access to the drug.

In December 2014, the Attorney-General asked the Commission to review the law to allow people to be treated with medicinal cannabis in exceptional circumstances.

The Commission's March 2015 issues paper 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.

Our subsequent investigation drew on nine public consultations in metropolitan and regional Victoria and 99 public submissions. 

The final report, delivered to the Attorney-General on 31 August 2015, made 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 and a summary of the recommendations are available in 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. 

12 April 2016 - The Access to Medicinal Cannabis Act 2016 (Vic) passed, enabling access to medicinal cannabis to defined groups of patients, including

(a) a patient who—

(i) is under 18 years of age; and

(ii) experiences severe seizures resulting from an epileptic condition in respect of which other treatment options have not proved effective or have generated intolerable side effects; and

(iii) meets the prescribed criteria in respect of that condition (if any);

or

(b) a patient who—

(i) has a prescribed medical condition; and

(ii) meets the prescribed criteria in respect of that condition (if any);

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.

For more information, see the Office of Medicinal Cannabis website. 

 

 

Timeline

Current: Table in parliament

Full timeline:

Reference
Consultation
Submissions
Final report
Tabled in parliament
View full timeline

Project Publications

Medicinal Cannabis: Report (pdf and Word)

Tabled in parliament on 6 October 2015, the Commission's report on medicinal cannabis contained 42 recommendations covering regulations, patient...

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Medicinal Cannabis: Report (html)

Tabled in parliament on 6 October 2015, the Commission's report on medicinal cannabis contained 42 recommendations covering regulations, patient...

Read more here

Medicinal Cannabis: received submissions

Submissions The Commission received 98 submissions to its review of Medicinal Cannabis and those below are published with the permission of those who...

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Medicinal Cannabis - Issues Paper

  In March 2015, the Commission published an issues paper on medicinal cannabis that provided background information about the benefits and risks of...

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Medicinal Cannabis: terms of reference

On 19 December 2014, the Attorney-General asked the Victorian Law Reform Commission to suggest options for changing the law relating to the use of...

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