Giving More Kids Access To Medicinal Cannabis

More of Victoria’s sickest kids will now have access to potentially life-changing medicinal cannabis treatment as part of the Andrews Labor Government’s compassionate access scheme.

Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos today announced the scheme would be increased from 60 to 90 places. Ten children with intractable epilepsy will be added to the scheme this year, while a further 20 will be able to join next year.

Medicinal cannabis can be a life-changing treatment for many children when other medication has failed. The Labor Government led the way making the treatment available for our sickest kids, forcing the Commonwealth to act – so that now doctors can prescribe medicinal cannabis for anyone who needs it.

The compassionate access scheme uses Canadian pharmaceutical grade cannabidiol, after the Commonwealth followed Victoria’s lead and allowed its import – overturning its own previous ban on the importation of medicinal cannabis.

With an emerging medicinal cannabis market taking hold in Victoria thanks to the Labor Government’s leadership, Ms Mikakos also announced today that the Labor Government will no longer produce its pioneering cannabidiol product developed from cannabis it has grown.

The 12 kilograms of purified crystallised cannabidiol manufactured by the Government will be provided for use in health and medical research and clinical trials, which are essential for encouraging the Commonwealth to include medicinal cannabis on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme, making it affordable for all Australians who need it.

The Department of Health and Human Services will shortly open up an expression of interest for medical researchers to apply to access the cannabidiol.

The compassionate access scheme began with 30 children but was doubled to 60 by the Labor Government last year. Now, 90 children will have a chance to get relief from their condition and live normal, healthy lives.

With a number of global companies already establishing themselves in Victoria generating up to 500 local jobs, the Labor Government will continue to lead the way in developing a robust medicinal cannabis industry – making Victoria a hub for ground-breaking research and development.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos

“We were brave with our reform to help families who were forced to choose between watching their children suffer or break the law. Thanks to our lead, medicinal cannabis is now legal in Australia.”

“We’re expanding our compassionate access scheme so more kids can access a treatment that could change their lives when all other avenues are exhausted.”