Pubdate: Wed, 17 Aug 2016
Source: Age, The (Australia)
Copyright: 2016 The Age Company Ltd
Author: Richard Willingham


Victoria's medicinal cannabis is a step closer to being dispensed to 
children with severe epilepsy, Premier Daniel Andrews has declared 
after visiting the state's clandestine marijuana crop.

Less than an hour after pictures were released of Mr Andrews 
inspecting the crop, the Premier announced the appointment of an 
independent medical committee to work out which patient cohort will 
be next to access medicinal cannabis. Victoria's medicinal cannabis 
is on track to be dispensed to the first group, children with severe 
epilepsy, next year, Mr Andrews says.

The expert panel includes doctors, pharmacists, researchers and 
consumer representatives, it will be chaired by Professor James 
Angus, who was head of University of Melbourne's Medical school and 
dean of the faculty.

Some families are already using medicinal cannabis illegally, 
something the government was aware of, which the Premier said was why 
his government was changing the law.

" These changes are long overdue, and we are making them as fast as 
we can," Mr Andrews said.

" Right now we have parents making the heart-breaking decision 
between breaking the law and watching their child suffer - and we are 
changing that forever. " We are leading the nation." Premier Daniel 
Andrews says changes to medicinal cannabis legislation are long overdue.

Health Minister Jill Hennessy said she was confident that police 
exercised their powers sensibly, when dealing with families who were 
seeking the treatment.

" Professor Angus' highly-respected skills, knowledge and expertise 
will help guide the roll-out of medicinal cannabis product for 
Victorian patients in exceptional circumstances," Ms Hennessy said.

Legalising medicinal cannabis was a key election pledge for Victorian Labor.

The Premier also revealed Victoria had been in talks with other 
states about the cannabis trial.
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