Young people and medical cannabis
Recently we’ve heard at YoDAA that young people have been talking about the new laws that allow for use of cannabis for medical purposes. There has been some confusion around the legality of cannabis.
New Victorian medical cannabis laws
The Victorian Government recently introduced new laws (the Access to Medicinal cannabis Act 2016) which let patients use medical cannabis for very specific scientific or medical purposes.
Who can legally use cannabis?
Under the new laws, doctors can ask the government for authorisation to prescribe cannabis to patients in exceptional circumstances. This new law will allow only a very small number of people to legally use cannabis.
At this stage, medical cannabis will only be available as part of a trial starting in 2017 to treat children with serious epilepsy.
What if you have epilepsy?
If you are under 18 and have epilepsy, you should call the Medicinal cannabis Taskforce on (03) 9096 7768 to see if you would be able to do the trial. There are lots of requirements for the trial (eg. your age, medication, health and drug use) that will determine whether you can be a part of the trial or not.
Why did the government introduce the new laws?
The Victorian Government introduced the new laws because they were worried about:
- Patients and their families illegally buying cannabis without their doctor’s knowledge;
- Patients using illegal cannabis that might have unknown ingredients added that could be harmful; and
- Patients using illegal cannabis which interferes with the medication their doctors are prescribing them.
The Government wanted to introduce laws to test if medical cannabis can help patients with certain types of medical conditions.
What if someone wants to use cannabis but I’m not part of the trial?
If you’re not part of the trial, it is still illegal to use cannabis. It is important to remember that it is illegal to grow, have, use or sell cannabis.