Medicinal cannabis legalised in Victoria

Medicinal cannabis legalised in Victoria, child epilepsy patients to be given access from 2017

Victoria has become the first state in Australia to legalise the use of medicinal cannabis.

Children with severe epilepsy will be the first to access to the drug in 2017, Victoria’s Health Minister Jill Hennessy said, after the Access to Medicinal Cannabis Bill passed Parliament.

The legislation enables the manufacture, supply and access to medicinal cannabis products in the state.

“We’re starting with these children with severe epilepsy, whose lives have been shown to improve so significantly, because we know these children often don’t make it until adulthood,” Ms Hennessy said.

“We want to improve the quality of their life.” She said it also meant parents of children with the disorder have to purchase the drug illegally.

“I just think that in this day and age, it’s unfair and unacceptable to ask a parent to make a decision between obeying the law and acting in the best interests of their child,” she said.

“Those parents will no longer have that dilemma.”

Ms Hennessy has said access to the drug — available in a variety of forms, including tinctures, oils, capsules, sprays and vaporisable liquids — would be rolled out gradually and eventually be made available to palliative care and those with HIV.

The Government said it would set up an Office of Medicinal Cannabis to oversee the manufacture of the drugs and would educate doctors and patients about their role and eligibility for the scheme.

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