Federal health minister Greg Hunt announced on Wednesday that
medicinal marijuana would be available for patients with
chronic and painful illnesses including epilepsy, motor neurone
disease and cancer.
Hunt has approved the importation of medicinal cannabis to meet
the needs of patients in Australia until domestically grown
products are ready for cultivation.
“That won’t happen overnight, but what we’ve done here is issue
a call for people to be able to establish an interim supply for
and within Australia through importation,” Hunt
told the ABC.
“Last year, the law was put in place which made medicinal
cannabis available. Now however I want to… deal immediately
with the question of supply.”
Currently patients looking to use medicinal cannabis face
significant delays, as products are sourced on a case-by-case
basis from overseas suppliers.
Hunt estimates Australia will have a store of imported
medicinal cannabis products within eight weeks, which will be
made up of government and commercially grown crops.
The Victorian government confirmed to BuzzFeed
News on Tuesday the first plants of their locally grown
medicinal cannabis is now ready for harvest.
Around 450 children with severe epilepsy will have first access
to the Victorian cannabis products after testing is complete in
the next few months.
Hunt said the government is working on a commercial cultivation
program to ensure long-term supply of medicinal cannabis.
The first cannabis research licence was granted last week to
Victorian company Cann Group to start the manufacturing process
for the cannabis extract to be turned into a pharmaceutically