Medical practitioners in Victoria will no longer need state approval to prescribe schedule 8 medicinal cannabis under regulatory reforms coming into effect next week.

The easing of the administrative process follows a protracted, Covid-delayed review into the state’s schedule 8 permit system by the Department of Health.

New rules eliminating the need to obtain a state permit for schedule 8 medicinal cannabis prescriptions take effect on Monday (February 28)

It recommended removing the requirement to seek state permission to prescribe medicinal cannabis to non-dependent patients, a move that will take effect on Monday.

Medical practitioners will now only require approval through the Special Access or Authorised Prescriber Schemes.

The decision to streamline the process was welcomed by the industry which has long called for reform.

Entoura general manager Clare Barker said: “It’s been a long time coming, but we’re pleased it’s finally here. It is pleasing that prescribers in Victoria are now aligned with NSW and Queensland with regards to state-based approvals, which will facilitate access for patients.”

Medical practitioners in Victoria were originally spared the additional state-level approval process in March 2020 following a Covid-triggered Public Health Emergency Order (PHEO).

But after being extended for six months in September 2020, the PHEO expired in March 2021, with prescribers again needing to apply for a state permit in addition to seeking TGA approval to prescribe schedule 8 medicinal cannabis.

In what was regarded as another example of double standards, certain opioids up to 100mg per day remained excluded from the schedule 8 approval requirement.  

Steve has reported for a number of consumer and B2B titles over a journalism career spanning more than three decades. He is a regulator contributor to health journal, The Medical Republic, writing on...