Victoria the First State to Legalize Medical Marijuana in Australia

The medical marijuana market in Victoria, Australia will be open to epilepsy patients as early as 2017.  The Access to Medical Cannabis Bill 2015 authorizes manufacture, supply, and access to medical cannabis in the state. Victoria aims to improve the quality of life for children with epilepsy through the bill.

Victoria’s Health Minister, Jill Hennessy, said, “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”, ”We want to improve the quality of their life.”

Not only will the bill alleviate pain for patients, it will remove the pressure of deciding between obeying the law and providing their child with effective medicine for parents too.

“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,” Hennessy said.

“Those parents will no longer have that dilemma.”

The Victorian Government believes that medical cannabis can provide relief to patients suffering from a range of illnesses. Jill Hennessy says that medical cannabis products such as capsules, oils, and tinctures will eventually be available to palliative care patients and those who suffer from HIV.

The government is going to set up an Office of Medicinal Cannabis to supervise the manufacture of the cannabis. The government plans to educate doctors about cannabis and their role as doctors who can prescribe cannabis; they also plan to educate patients about their eligibility for the medicine.

The government will be introducing the drug with the assistance of an independent body. The independent body has worked with legal cannabis before and will provide advice on the introduction of the drug.

Although—Australia is no stranger to medical marijuana—in 2015, the New South Wales (NSW) Government pledged nine million Australian dollars over four years for clinical trials for cannabis products. Shortly after the NSW trials, Victoria and Queensland announced they would be conducting medicinal marijuana trials of their own. Federal Health Minister, Sussan Ley, expressed that medicinal cannabis has great potential. “We will watch with interest as these trials develop and we will take the necessary regulatory steps from a commonwealth level when the time comes,” Ley said.

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