Premier Daniel Andrews casts his eye over the state’s clandestine cannabis cropVictoria’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.

The first group, children with severe epilepsy, should receive the treatment from next year.

Victoria’s medicinal cannabis is on track to be dispensed to children with severe epilepsy next year, Daniel 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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