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Federal Government to
legalise medicinal cannabis
The Federal Government will seek parliamentary support to allow the
controlled cultivation of cannabis for medicinal or scientific purposes
Minister for Health Sussan Ley
announced on 17 October that the
Government was finalising draft
amendments to the Narcotics Drugs
Act 1967 to allow the controlled
cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and
The decision comes after the Victorian
Government announced that it will
legalise access to locally manufactured
medicinal cannabis products for use in
exceptional circumstances from 2017.
The decision was informed by a Victorian
Law Reform Commission report which
advised the Government on how to
amend the law in order to allow people
in exceptional circumstances to safely
access medicinal cannabis products.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia
has welcomed the decision and the
key role for pharmacists in dispensing
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said:
'I've seen first-hand how medicinal
cannabis can change people's lives.
This landmark reform means Victorian
families will no longer have to decide
between breaking the law and watching
their child suffer.'
Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy
said: 'Victoria is leading the way on
legalising medicinal cannabis because
we know the difference it can make to
a patient's quality of life, and because
we know the evidence is growing in
support of it as a treatment option in
'Children with severe epilepsy will be the
first to access medicinal cannabis in early
2017 because their condition can be life
threatening and medicinal cannabis may
be their last treatment option.
The Victorian Law Reform Commission's
Report on Medicinal Cannabis, tabled
in the Victorian Parliament last month,
included 42 recommendations and
addressed key issues including:
• Cultivation, manufacture and supply
of high quality medicinal cannabis
products within Victoria
• Patient eligibility
• Appropriate clinical oversight
involving specialists, general
practitioners, nurses and pharmacists
• The need for ongoing research and
• The Victorian Government has fully
accepted 40 of the Commission's
recommendations, and accepted two
recommendations in principle.
Victorian pharmacists will play a pivotal
role under proposals announced by the
Acting National PSA National President
Michelle Lynch, said that under the new
regulations, pharmacists would dispense
medicinal cannabis after authorisation
was provided by medical specialists.
'Having pharmacists acknowledged
as best-placed to dispense medicinal
cannabis is welcomed as it ensures
that medicines experts are available to
advise and counsel patients using these
products,' Ms Lynch said.
She said the Victorian move aligned with
PSA's policy on medicinal cannabis.
'PSA also supports the development
of an information and education
program to support pharmacists in the
dispensing of cannabis-based therapies
and provision of information to patients,
carers and prescribers. PSA welcomes
the opportunity for pharmacists to work
in collaboration with other members
of the healthcare team to provide care
and advice to patients using medicinal
cannabis,' she said.
The Victorian Government will begin a
cultivation trial at a Victorian research
facility overseen the Department of
Economic Development, Jobs, Transport
Legislation reflecting the Commission's
recommendations will be introduced by
the end of this year.
Tasmanian Cannabis trials
The Tasmanian Government has hosted
meetings with the Director of the NSW
Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research
and Innovation aimed at advancing
Tasmania's participation in medicinal
Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman said:
'I am very pleased we were able to
facilitate meetings in Hobart between
the Director of the NSW Centre for
Medicinal Cannabis Research and
Innovation, also NSW Chief Scientist
and Engineer, Professor Mary O'Kane,
and senior members of the Health
Department, University of Tasmania,
my Department, and my office,'
Mr Hodgman said.
'The meetings explored ways
Tasmania can be involved in NSW
trials and research to understand
cannabis and cannabis products for
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