Medicinal Cannabis in Victoria

Medicinal cannabis products are regulated and controlled drugs in Australia. There are regulatory requirements that need to be satisfied to cultivate, produce or access medicinal cannabis.  This is to ensure that medicinal cannabis products are of a safe and reliable quality and are available to suitable patients.

Patient access to medicinal cannabis in Australia is growing. Businesses are also investing in Victoria to develop Australian medicinal cannabis products.

Medicinal Cannabis Industry Development Plan

In 2018, the Victorian Government released its four-year Medicinal Cannabis Industry Development Plan. The plan outlines eight key actions for government to facilitate the development for the new medicinal cannabis industry.

Developing this new industry will not only assist the significant number of Australians that may benefit from the use of medicinal cannabis, but also generate direct and indirect benefits for Victoria including:

  • the potential to create up to 500 new Victorian jobs by 2028;
  • new export markets; and
  • new domestic and international investments.

Medicinal Cannabis: Industry development modelling

The Victorian Government recently commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to update current and future modelling scenarios on the Victorian medicinal cannabis industry. The Deloitte report highlights a significant increase to production capacity and supply, patient cohorts and export opportunities.

Key milestones

Victoria was the first Australian state in to legalise access to medicinal cannabis, which has driven policy reform nationally.

2014

  • The Victorian Government asked the Victorian Law Reform Commission to report on options for changes to the law to allow people to be treated with medicinal cannabis in exceptional circumstances.
  • Victoria is committed to the development of medicinal cannabis industry from emerging status to that of an established industry that is ready to supply both a domestic and international market.

2015

  • The Victorian Law Reform Commission’s Report on Medicinal Cannabis was tabled in Parliament.
  • It addresses key issues including cultivation, manufacturing and supply of high quality medicinal cannabis products in Victoria, appropriate clinical oversight and the need for ongoing research and clinical trials.

2016

  • The Access to Medicinal Cannabis Act 2016 passed, creating a framework to enable access to medicinal cannabis to defined groups of patients.
  • The Victorian Government received the first authorisation in Australia from the Office of Drug Control to cultivate medicinal cannabis.
  • The Commonwealth amended to the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 to regulate the cultivation, production and manufacture of cannabis for medical and scientific use as required under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961.
  • Imported medicinal cannabis legally available.

2017

  • The first cannabis research licence under the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 was granted by the Office of Drug Control to a Victorian based company.
  • The Commonwealth permitted bulk imports of medicinal cannabis products.
  • The first commercial permit to cultivate medicinal cannabis awarded to a Victorian commercial entity.
  • Medicinal cannabis plants cultivated by the Victorian Government transferred to Victorian commercial entity.

2018

  • Victoria’s medicinal cannabis Industry Development Plan released.
  • The export of medicinal cannabis products legalised through the Commonwealth Narcotic Drugs Amendment (Cannabis) Regulations 2018.
  • Further public announcements by commercial entities to invest and build cultivation and manufacturing facilities, Asia-Pacific headquarters, and research and development centres in Victoria.

2019

  • Medicinal Cannabis in Victoria website launched to provide information to industry, doctors and patients.
  • Further announcements by commercial entities to invest in cultivation, manufacturing and R&D in Victoria.

2020

  • The Access to Medicinal Cannabis Act 2016 repealed, reduced red tape for Victorian industry.
  • Medicinal cannabis manufactured in Victoria made available to Australian patients.
  • First export of locally cultivated products by a commercial entity.
  • Further export contracts announced by commercial entities.
  • The Commonwealth down-scheduled CBD products to allow supply over-the-counter.

Download the Key Milestones of Victoria’s Medicinal Cannabis Industry Development:

Benefits of Victoria’s medicinal cannabis industry

  • High quality and globally harmonised regulatory system.
  • Broad Network of Clinical Trial Partners.
  • Growth in key intellectual property.
  • Victoria’s high-quality infrastructure.
  • Australia’s reputation for high-quality pharmaceuticals (GMP certified).
  • Melbourne’s life science cluster.
  • Victoria’s agriculture R&D expertise.

Victoria’s strengths

  • Victoria as a hub for medicinal cannabis.
  • Cost effective, fast clinical trial system.
  • Growth in export opportunities.
  • Increase in international investment.
  • Improved treatments and access for Australian patients.
  • Access to R&D Tax Incentives.
  • High-value job creation in industry and R&D.
  • Contribution to GSP.

Key links/contacts

Department of Health and Human Services

Drugs and Poisons Regulation

Tel: 1300 364 545

Email: dpcs@dhhs.vic.gov.au

Office of Medicinal Cannabis

Tel: +61 3 9096 7768

Email: medicinal.cannabis@dhhs.vic.gov.au

Office of Drug Control (Commonwealth)

  • General enquiries regarding the cultivation of medicinal cannabis: +61 2 6232 8433
  • Queries relating to completing a medicinal cannabis licence/permit application: +61 2 6232 8648
  • All other enquiries: +61 2 6232 8740

Clinical Trials in Victoria

VCT Gateway for clinical trial information

Therapeutic Goods Administration

Tel: 1800 020 653

Email: info@tga.gov.au

Industry Development Plan

Link to industry development plans on agriculture.vig.gov.au

Page last updated: 10 March 2021