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16-person cannabis panel a good deal: Vic

AAP logoAAP 16/08/2016 By Luke Costin

Having more than a dozen experts on an advisory panel may sound excessive, but Victoria's health minister says the state is "getting a very good deal" when it comes to guidance on medicinal cannabis regulation.

The 16-member Independent Medical Advisory Committee unveiled on Tuesday includes cancer, addiction medicine and pain management specialists as well as a consumer representative.

Led by James Angus - the former head of Melbourne University's medical school - the committee will provide advice on patient eligibility and product approval as Victoria moves towards the sale of medicinal cannabis.

"I assure you we are getting a very good deal when it comes to a high level of expertise sitting on this committee," Health Minister Jill Hennessy told reporters on Tuesday.

"These are clinicians and experts that if they went to work for big pharmaceutical companies in other jurisdictions would be paid enormous amounts of money."

Ms Hennessy said the cost of the committee was included in the existing $28.5 million budget for the medicinal cannabis program.

The Victorian government is yet to announce exactly when children with severe epilepsy will be able to legally access cannabis but the scheme is scheduled to start in 2017.

Ms Hennessy said parents who'd treated their severely ill children with illegally obtained cannabis were receiving support.

"Without going into the detail around those families, the department of health and human services provides support, as does the department of education," she said.

Victoria Police would exercise their powers sensibly when considering prosecuting parents "having to make unenviable choices", the minister said.

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