Medical cannabis has been a legal treatment option in Victoria (VIC) since 2016. However, as with the rest of Australia, its cultivation, distribution, and consumption are highly regulated by the government. Depending on your state, rules and regulations surrounding medical cannabis may differ slightly. Staying on top of Victoria’s specific policies and legislation helps you make informed decisions about your treatment and care.

Is medical cannabis legal in Victoria?

In 2016, Australia passed nationwide legislation that legalised medical cannabis in all states, including Victoria. Doctors and nurse practitioners can prescribe cannabis when they believe it is appropriate, but they still need approvals in certain cases. The authority that provides this approval is called the Commonwealth Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). As of February 2022, Schedule 8 treatment permits are no longer required for prescribers if the patient is non-drug dependent. However, even with this legislation, cannabis production and distribution across Australia is heavily restricted.

Medical cannabis prescriptions in Victoria

You can only access medical cannabis in Victoria legally through a valid prescription. The issuer must be a registered medical practitioner, such as a doctor, and they’ll need the appropriate approvals. Other than a TGA approval, prescribers may also need to seek permission from the Victorian Department of Health. Approvals are not required for Schedule 4 cannabidiol (CBD) products featured on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods. Once a prescriber receives the correct approval (if required), they can issue a prescription. Practitioners must include all the information about the product with the prescription, including but not limited to the active ingredients, dosage directions, quantity, and concentration of active ingredients.

Medical cannabis supply in Victoria

The Commonwealth and state legislation regulates the supply of medicinal cannabis in Victoria. Only licensed manufacturers may produce, import and supply cannabis for medical purposes. The Office of Drug Control (ODC) supplies a national license that covers research, production, and importation. Still, domestic manufacturing companies may also need a TGA licence called the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) licence. Wholesale suppliers in Victoria need a poisons licence from the Department of Health and Humanities (DHHS). You’ll only be able to access products from these companies with a valid prescription from your prescriber.

Medical cannabis eligibility in Victoria

Your eligibility for medicinal cannabis in Victoria will depend on factors like medical condition and health history. Your doctor will discuss treatment options with you and decide your prescription. If a medical practitioner genuinely believes medicinal cannabis will benefit your condition, they can prescribe it to you upon receiving approval from the TGA. If you have been unsuccessful with other treatments, or suffer from chronic conditions lasting more than three months, doctors may bring up the option of cannabis.

Medical cannabis in workplaces VIC

Whether you’re allowed to use medical cannabis at your workplace depends on your company’s individual drug policies. Many workplaces list THC as a banned substance, meaning you could potentially be fired for using cannabis even if you have a medical prescription. Since THC is found in many cannabis products, and can take up to four or five days to exit your system, it could come into conflict with your work’s drug policy. However, CBD-only treatments (that have been analysed by a pharmaceutical laboratory to confirm no THC is present) may be an option if you discuss your company policies with your employer before starting treatment. It’s important to explore treatment options with your doctor to find a solution that meets your workplace requirements as well as your own.

Travelling with medical cannabis in Victoria

Travelling with cannabis in Victoria is typically legal if you hold a valid prescription. For interstate travel, you’ll need appropriate documentation and keep your cannabis in the original packaging with labels intact. Your name and details should be visible on the bottle or container. If you want to take medicinal cannabis overseas, research your destination’s drug regulations very carefully. As an extra step, you could also request a letter from your doctor outlining your prescription, including the dosage and the amount you’ll be carrying. In some countries, carrying cannabis is illegal, even if you carry an Australian prescription.

Driving with medical cannabis in VIC

It is illegal to drive in Victoria while receiving medical cannabis treatment involving THC. This active ingredient may impair cognitive function, which makes driving or operating heavy machinery unsafe for yourself and others. It’s legal to drive with CBD in your system, but many CBD products contain small traces of THC if they are obtained illicitly online. It’s a good idea to chat with your doctor about cannabis treatment options if you do a lot of driving. Keep in mind that current road testing procedures don’t test for your level of cognition, only the presence of THC, which can often take days or weeks to fully leave your system.

Medical cannabis cost in VIC

The cost of medical cannabis in Victoria could be anywhere from $50 to $1000 per week, depending on your condition, dosage, and the type of cannabis product. Certain health insurers are beginning to offer certain rebates for medicinal cannabis patients, but most public insurers, like Medicare, don’t provide this kind of coverage. The only other way to access medicinal cannabis for a reduced cost is by participating in a clinical trial. If you’re interested in taking part in a medicinal cannabis trial, speak with your doctor.

Medical cannabis pharmacies in VIC

Pharmacists in Victoria can order and dispense medical cannabis if they have the right licence. TGA and State Health approval letters are still required, in most cases, along with a valid prescription, before providing medicine to a patient. For patients, as long as you have all the relevant prescription information, you should be able to get your prescription from any pharmacy in your state. Pharmacies can contact suppliers directly to order cannabis products for patients, but the supplier will need to receive evidence of the TGA approval before releasing an unapproved product.

Additional state regulations

In the Australian Capital Territory, medicinal cannabis is allowed on a case-by-case basis. In appropriate situations, you may possess, distribute, and consume cannabis with the correct license, permit, or prescription.  To prescribe medicinal cannabis, doctors need to have approval from both the Therapeutic Goods Administration and the ACT chief health officer. This is separate from the ACT’s changes to state laws in 2020, allowing the use of cannabis for personal use in certain amounts.

We’ve broken down all the rules and regulations for residents of the Australian Capital Territory.

Medical Cannabis in the ACT

Medicinal cannabis is legal in New South Wales in medical and scientific situations. Doctors can prescribe it when necessary with TGA approval. The government has also established the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation to conduct community education and keep track of clinical trials.

Medical Cannabis in NSW

In the Northern Territory, medicinal cannabis is legal with a prescription. In November 2019, the first NT resident received a medicinal cannabis prescription.  However, many patients in the NT will need to find a telehealth doctor in another state because there are few authorised prescribers based locally, and the area’s remote nature makes it difficult for residents to travel to the right doctors.

Medical Cannabis in NT

Registered medical practitioners are allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis in Queensland if it’s medically necessary. In the past, they had to get approval from the Commonwealth. However, new legislation in 2020 determined that any Queensland medical practitioner could prescribe Schedule 4 CBD or Schedule 8 THC or CBD oil without approval from health authorities.

Medical Cannabis in QLD

You can get medicinal cannabis in South Australia with a prescription. The prescription needs to come from an authorised SA medical practitioner. In some cases, the practitioner must seek approval under South Australian Controlled Substances legislation. This approval is subject to exceptions such as elderly people or terminally ill patients.

Medical Cannabis in SA

Medical practitioners can prescribe medicinal cannabis in Tasmania if they feel it’s the best course of treatment for a patient. To do this, they must acquire approval from the Commonwealth and state authorities.

Medical Cannabis in TAS

Prescriptions for medicinal cannabis can be given by any prescriber in WA if they have the appropriate government approval. Prescriptions need to align with the Medicines and Poisons legislation. As long as a WA-based medical practitioner provides your prescription, it can be dispensed at any pharmacy in the state.

Medicinal Cannabis in Perth & WA
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