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October 2014

Victoria takes the lead in medical cannabis trials

Legislation to facilitate medical cannabis trials has been introduced into State Parliament, in another significant step towards the use of marijuana compounds in treating or relieving the symptoms of a range of illnesses and conditions.

Minister for Health David Davis said the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Clinical Trials) Bill would streamline the process to enable properly regulated trials.

‘The issues surrounding the use of cannabis compounds for treatment of medical conditions are extremely complex.

‘However, the Government has listened, particularly to the concerns of parents who believe that some of these products can make a real difference to the health and quality of life of their children.

‘We are taking the lead in working with other authorities to ensure clinical trials of some of these cannabis compounds are conducted, while ensuring that they are undertaken in a safe and ethical manner.’

The Government has established an expert advisory committee consisting of clinical and regulatory experts to work through the complex clinical and ethical issues and to facilitate appropriately governed trials.

Mr Davis said the Bill would enable registered practitioners to apply for a single authorisation enabling treatment of multiple patients with Schedule 8 or Schedule 9 poisons, such as cannabis, as part of a clinical trial.

He said the Bill ensured that only bona fide cannabis-based products of known and standardised quality from recognised pharmaceutical companies that are already approved for medical use overseas or in Australia can be considered for clinical trials.