EXCLUSIVE: Health officials in Victoria are reviewing the state’s Schedule 8 permit system, raising hopes that the need for state approval for medicinal cannabis will be permanently dropped later this year.

The Department of Health confirmed to Cannabiz that a review is underway, including the need for GPs and clinics to seek approval for medicinal cannabis prescriptions.

While no conclusion has yet been reached, sources told Cannabiz it was likely the review would spell the end of the S8 permit system.

A decision is expected in July.

News of the review comes after Victoria reimposed the state approval process for S8 medicines, including for medicinal cannabis, in a move the industry felt could hamper patient access to medication.

For the past year, GPs only needed TGA sign-off to prescribe cannabis following a Covid-triggered Public Health Emergency Order.

The streamlined process came to an end on March 28 when the emergency order expired.

The return of state approval hampered Authorised Prescribers in particular who were no longer able simply to write a script.

A Department of Health spokesperson said:  “Since we led the way by being the first jurisdiction in Australia to legalise access to medicinal cannabis, the Commonwealth has followed our lead, regulating the drug so that it can be prescribed for all Australians.

 “The Department is currently reviewing Victoria’s Schedule 8 permit system, which includes permit requirements for medicinal cannabis.”

The department added that it now needs the “Commonwealth to take the necessary action to make the drug affordable for those who need it”.

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