The Victorian Government is expanding the state’s medicinal cannabis sector positioning it as the leader in exports of medicinal cannabis, as well as creating jobs and providing life-changing treatment.

Unveiled on 17 January, Australia’s first ever Medicinal Cannabis Industry Development Strategy maps out the government's vision – Victorian firms producing high-quality medicinal cannabis products for domestic and global patients and establishing Victoria as a leading export hub.

The Strategy sets the long-term goal of supplying half of Australia’s medicinal cannabis by 2028 – along with the creation of as many as 500 jobs. And if Victoria’s producers can meet the needs of 83, 000 Australian patients, and develop a strong foothold in key export markets, the industry’s economic contribution to the state could reach up to A$90 million a year.

“By building on our existing strengths, such as Victoria’s advanced manufacturing and med-tech capabilities, we are well-placed to develop a responsible industry that provides patients with reliable, effective, life-changing medicines” Medicinal Cannabis Industry Strategy 2018

In 2016, Victoria was the first state in Australia to legalise access to medicinal cannabis for those in exceptional circumstances and has already helped children see a reduction in epileptic seizures, significantly improving their quality of life. The scheme ensured families could afford access to medical cannabis' life-changing medicine, which would have otherwise been financially out of reach.

The Commonwealth has also enabled the licensed cultivation and manufacture of the medicinal cannabis product, meaning Victoria no longer needs to implement a stand-alone regulatory scheme.

The signing of a landmark MOU between Agriculture Victoria and Canadian company Canopy Growth Corporation will focus on best approaches to strain development, cultivation, manufacturing, and education.