The Andrews Labor Government is getting on with establishing a reliable, safe production pipeline for the supply of high quality medicinal cannabis for Victorian patients.

The first cannabis crop grown by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources has now been harvested.

It is now being tested and formulated – part of product development and product validation to support Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification in preparation for treating the first patient cohort – children suffering from severe epilepsy.

The first cannabis research licence under the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 has been granted by the Office of Drug Control to a Victorian based company, Cann Group.

Construction has also been completed of a world-class purpose built cultivation and manufacturing facility for the supply of high quality medicinal cannabis to patients in Victoria.

GMP certification will ensure that the medicinal cannabis supplied will be manufactured to the highest quality and standards.

The Victorian Budget 2016/17 included $28.5 million to establish the Office of Medicinal Cannabis and the Independent Medical Advisory Committee to map out the steps required to roll out this life-changing treatment.

The Office of Medicinal Cannabis is responsible for the regulation of all clinical and manufacturing aspects of the medicinal cannabis framework. The Independent Medical Advisory Committee provides advice to the Government on the types of medicinal cannabis products that should be approved for use by Victorian patients.

With the delivery of the first batch of cannabis extract, the Office of Medicinal Cannabis will now oversee its testing and the processing stages through to it being manufactured pharmaceutically into a safe treatment for children with severe epilepsy.

Victoria was the first state in Australia to legalise access to medicinal cannabis for patients in exceptional circumstances. The product being developed will be the first locally produced medicinal cannabis to be legally available in Australia.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford

“In April last year, Victoria became the first state to legalise medicinal cannabis and our scientists have been breaking new ground ever since.”

“Every step along the way takes us closer to being able to provide product to Victorians who need it the most.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“We promised Victorians they would be able to access this life-changing treatment and every day brings us one step closer to delivering on this Australian first commitment.”

“We have seen time and time again the difference medicinal cannabis can make to the lives of very sick children.”