On the basis of a research report, the parliament of the Australian state of Victoria is determined to legalise a number of medicinal cannabis products. This is a serious step forward for a country that has struggled for a long time with the issue of legalisation of medicinal cannabis and recreational cannabis consumption. Read more about this significant decision here.
On 6 October 2015, the parliament of the Australian state of Victoria discussed a report that seems to pave the way for medicinal cannabis. On the basis of the report, the state government is determined to legalise a number of medicinal cannabis products. This is a serious step forward for a country that has struggled for a long time with the issue of legalisation of medicinal cannabis and recreational cannabis consumption.
Medicinal cannabis in Victoria
On 19 December 2014, the Victorian Law Reform Commission was requested to investigate the steps necessary to make medicinal cannabis products accessible in exceptional circumstances. In August this year, the commission presented its findings in a report that was discussed in parliament on 6 October 2015.
The report includes 42 recommendations and covers key issues such as:
- The cultivation, production and supply of high-quality medicinal cannabis products in Victoria.
- Patient eligibility.
- The extent of fit-for-purpose supervision by GPs, specialists, nurses and pharmacists.
- The need for further (clinical) research into the efficacy of cannabis.
After discussing the report, the government took all recommendations on board, two of which provisionally. This has finally made possible the treatment with cannabis of at least the following disorders:
- Severe muscle spasms or severe pain resulting from multiple sclerosis.
- Severe pain, nausea and vomiting resulting from cancer, HIV or AIDS (or the treatment thereof).
- Severe seizures resulting from epileptic conditions where other treatment options have not proved effective or have generated side effects which are intolerable for the patient.
- Severe chronic pain (upon approval of two specialists).
The products that will be made available are: tinctures, oils, capsules, sprays and vaporisable liquids For the time being, the cannabis may not be smoked in connection with supposed health issues, the commission advises.
To launch the process, the Victorian government wants to first start with a trial at a controlled research institute under the supervision of the Ministry of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. The aim of this first phase is to set up a cultivation and processing industry that can guarantee a constant reliable supply of medicinal cannabis products. It will also be the ministry’s task to grant licences to medicinal cannabis growers and producers and to set up and monitor the regulations.
Result expected by the end of 2015
While the plans to cultivate medicinal cannabis in Victoria do require the support of the federal government, federal legislation is not necessary. Premier Daniel Andrews is very positive about the situation and said 6 October was one of the best days of his political career. And that was not all he had to say. “There are about 450 of those beautiful little people and they’re going to get legally for the first time the medicine that they need to transform their lives, and indeed to save their lives,” he said. “The time has come for us to stop finding reasons not to do this. There will be a cost involved, there’s no doubt about that. It’s not about dollars and cents really, this is about saving lives.”
The Victorian government expects to be able to give a small group of patients access to locally produced medicinal cannabis products before the end of 2015. In 2017, children with serious epilepsy are expected to be officially granted access to treatments with cannabis products produced in Victoria. In order to move forward the process, patients are encouraged to start discussing the advantages and risks of medicinal cannabis with their physician now.
It goes without saying that Sensi Seeds is delighted by this development and hopes that more Australian states will follow Victoria’s lead. Having all of Australia on board with regard to medicinal cannabis would be a huge step forward for the global process. We will continue to follow the developments closely.