The State Government of Victoria in Australia has announced a medical cannabis cultivation trial is in its second phase and an Independent Medical Advisory Committee is active.
In April this year, Victoria became the first Australian state to legalise access to medicinal cannabis; albeit access is only available for now in exceptional circumstances and products need to be made available.
The first horticultural trial at an undisclosed location that the Premier visited last month has been deemed a success and the first “patient group” cultivation is being prepared; which involves taking cuttings from plants in the horticultural trial.
As for the new committee, which will provide advice on patient eligibility the types products to be made available, it is being led by Professor James Angus AO. Among his career highlights, the Professor was the Head of the University of Melbourne’s Medical School from 2003 to 2010.
Other members of the Committee include specialists in oncology, addiction, neurology, along with various other experts in specific conditions and medical processes. Also on the committee is a consumer advocate.
“The new Medical Advisory Committee will use the very best medical evidence available so doctors and families can have confidence in our medicinal cannabis access scheme,” said Minister for Health Jill Hennessy.
“Professor Angus’ highly-respected skills, knowledge and expertise will help guide the roll-out of medicinal cannabis products for Victorian patients in exceptional circumstances.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says his government is keen to lead the way Australia’s medical marijuana revolution.
“Right now we have parents are making the heart breaking decision between breaking the law and watching their child suffer – and we are changing that forever.”
“We are delivering on our promise to give access to medicinal cannabis as soon as possible because we know it can change lives.”
The Government also says the Office of Medicinal Cannabis is now operating. The body is charged with the task of regulating clinical and manufacturing aspects of Victoria’s framework.
The state’s program certainly won’t be a free-for-all – only a limited number of children with severe epilepsy will be able to access legal medicinal cannabis products from early 2017. However, the Premier has an open mind on expanding the program; something the Independent Medical Advisory Committee will also advise on.
“…experts are looking at how our medicinal cannabis scheme can be expanded to other patients with different conditions,” said Premier Andrews. “The bottom line is this: we’re going to save a lot of lives.”