Between the period of 2002 to 2014, self-reported cannabis use has fell among 8th graders, 10th graders and 12th...
Victoria could begin growing marijuana for medicinal purposes, as the Andrews Government moves to legalise the use of cannabis oil in exceptional circumstances.
The Government received a Victorian Law Reform Commission report on how to go about making it legal, which will be tabled in Parliament in the next fortnight.
The state does not have the power to import the drug, leading to the likelihood it would need to be grown locally.
The Government made a pre-election promise to legalise medicinal cannabis oil for "exceptional circumstances".
Health Minister Jill Hennessey said medicinal cannabis oil could make a huge difference when other medicines did not work.
"I've met many parents whose use of medicinal cannabis has significantly changed the quality of life of their children — these are kids with severe epilepsy, and a range of other syndromes," she said.
"Those parents have been forced to choose between breaking the law or treating their children in a way that has been extremely effective for them.
"We want to end that choice, and that's why we asked the Law Reform Commission how we should go about legalising medicinal cannabis, not if we should."
The national policy manager at the Australian Drug Foundation, Geoff Munro, said he supported the idea
"I can't see there is a problem with manufacturing it locally," he said.
"It seems appropriate that Victoria could produce its own supply, after all Australia already produces opium poppies for the production of morphine in Tasmania.
"But obviously the cultivation would have to be quite secure. Access would have to be restricted."
He said poppies had proven to be one of the major drivers of Tasmania's economy, and it could provide a boost in Victoria.
Greens leader Greg Barber said he supported the move, but it would need co-operation from Canberra.
"You've got everything from the growing, the production, the prescribing and the consumption that all needs legal support, and much of that is covered under federal law," he said.
Use of cannabis oil must be 'safe, secure', Government says
Mr Munro said the public was able to distinguish the difference between therapeutic and recreational use, but there would need to be very clear guidelines in place.
"We are in favour of Victorians and Australians having access to the best medical care, and if cannabis products can provide superior outcomes for people who are unwell and suffering various ailments we are in favour of [it]," he said.
"As long as we draw a distinction between medicinal and other uses.
"We can't see a problem, as long as the cannabis products are prescribed under medical supervision, the dosage is controlled and the outcomes are evaluated according to scientific trial."
While medicinal cannabis is legal in dozens of states in the United States and many European countries, Victoria would become the first Australian jurisdiction to permit its use.
Ms Hennessey said she could not outline an exact date when the changes would be introduced, but the Government would make good on its election promise.
"This is a matter of great complexity, and we need to look at all sorts of things like how do you get supply, what category of patients should get access, what regulation you put around it, how do we make sure it's not subject to abuse," she said.
"We want to make sure we do it in a way that is safe, effective and sustainable."