In Victoria, medicinal cannabis is regulated by both Commonwealth and State governments. All stages of the process from cultivation to manufacturing, distribution and patient access are tightly regulated to ensure that medicinal cannabis products of a reliable quality are available to approved patients. Access to medicinal cannabis only occurs under prescription from a medical practitioner.
In April 2016, the Access to Medicinal Cannabis Act 2016 passed the Victorian Parliament. This Act establishes the legal framework to provide access to medicinal cannabis to Victorian patients in exceptional circumstances.
Children with severe intractable epilepsy will be the first group of patients to access medicinal cannabis as part of the Victorian scheme. Further information about the scheme and patient access is available from the Office of Medicinal Cannabis within the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/drugs-and-poisons/medicinal-cannabis
The Victorian Government also supports the establishment of a medicinal cannabis industry. This will provide a reliable and high quality supply of medicinal cannabis for approved patients, as well as encourage innovation, growth and employment opportunities in Victoria.
Legal access to medicinal cannabis products is possible through the Special Access Scheme or Authorised Prescriber Scheme administered by the Commonwealth Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). More information is available on the TGA's website at https://www.tga.gov.au/access-medicinal-cannabis-products
In October 2016, the Commonwealth Government commenced a national licensing scheme for the cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis, following amendments to the Narcotics Drugs Act 1967 . This scheme is administered by the Commonwealth Office of Drug Control. Information about medicinal cannabis licences is available on the Office of Drug Control's website https://www.odc.gov.au/medicinal-cannabis
Cultivation of medicinal cannabis
The Commonwealth Office of Drug Control issues licences for the cultivation of medicinal cannabis under the Narcotics Drugs Act 1967. A medicinal cannabis licence authorises the licence holder to cultivate or produce medicinal cannabis, or both. Cultivate means growing cannabis plants. Produce means to harvest cannabis and/or cannabis resin.
A cultivation licence may be issued for any state or territory, subject to conditions.
The Office of Drug Control must be satisfied that the cultivation of cannabis is for supply to either a person/organisation licenced to manufacture medicinal cannabis products, or to a person/organisation licensed to produce cannabis.
More information about cultivation licences can be found on the Office of Drug Control's website https://odc.gov.au/medicinal-cannabis-cultivation-and-production-licences-and-permits or call 02 6232 8433.
Information on the costs involved in the cultivation of medicinal cannabis can be found in an independent report commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Health in 2016. A copy of the report can be found here https://www.odc.gov.au/publications/modelling-cost-medicinal-cannabis
Manufacture of medicinal cannabis products
The Commonwealth Office of Drug Control issues licences for the manufacture of medicinal cannabis under the Narcotics Drugs Act 1967. Manufacturers may also require a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) licence from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
For further information about medicinal cannabis manufacturing licences, please visit the Office of Drug Control website, https://www.odc.gov.au/manufacturers-1
For further information about TGA requirements, please visit the TGA website, https://www.tga.gov.au/access-medicinal-cannabis-products
Government supply of medicinal cannabis to Victorian patients
Agriculture Victoria is working with the Office of Medicinal Cannabis, Department of Health and Human Services to produce medicinal cannabis for children in Victoria with severe, intractable epilepsy.
Agriculture Victoria is cultivating and manufacturing a medicinal cannabis extract. This activity is occurring at a world-class, purpose built cultivation and manufacturing facility in Victoria, involving some of Australia's leading research scientists, and cutting-edge research tools such as genome mapping.
Support for industry development
If you are a company looking to invest in Victoria, government assistance may be available depending on the nature, size and potential location of your business. For further information please go to http://www.invest.vic.gov.au/how-we-can-help
See the attached brochure about Victoria's offering in the medical-technology sector.
If you are a small business or just starting out on developing a business, a range of information and support is available at http://www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business
Agriculture Victoria can provide limited technical advice about cultivating medicinal cannabis for Victorian cultivators. Information includes: licensing proprietary genetics, genotyping and chemotyping of plant strains, technical advice on compliance management and cannabinoid analytical services.
Information can be requested by contacting Agriculture Victoria's Customer Service Centre on 136 186 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Industrial hemp and hemp as food
Agriculture Victoria is responsible for issuing licenses to authorise the cultivation and processing of low-THC cannabis (industrial hemp) for non-therapeutic (not medicinal) purposes in Victoria.
Low-THC industrial hemp is grown and processed in Victoria for fibre and cosmetic applications; and as food for export markets.
From 11 November 2017, hemp seed produced under a Victorian licence will be allowed to be sold domestically as food.
For more information please visit our industrial hemp webpage at http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/grains-and-other-crops/cannabis-in-victoria/industrial-hemp
Patient access to medicinal cannabis - please contact the following departments:
Victorian Office of Medicinal Cannabis webpage at https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/drugs-and-poisons/medicinal-cannabis or call +61 3 9096 7768
Commonwealth Therapeutic Goods Administration at https://www.tga.gov.au/access-medicinal-cannabis-products-steps-using-access-schemes#step1 or call 1800 020 653
Cultivation and manufacturing licences - please visit the Office of Drug Control webpage at https://www.odc.gov.au/medicinal-cannabis or call +61 2 6232 8648
Click here to see what the Victoria Government can provide for medical technology investments
Click here to view the Growing Industrial Hemp and Medicinal Cannabis in Victoria Factsheet
An accessible version of these documents is currently not available. Work to create an accessible version may already be in progress or an accessible version can be provided on request. Please contact 136 186 if you need further information about this document.