The Victorian Government has introduced new regulations, prescribing various forms of synthetic cannabis as drugs of dependence for the purposes of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act

The Regulations, which commenced on 27 October, replace the former Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances (Drugs of Dependence – Synthetic Cannabinoids) Regulations by including several new synthetic cannabinoids as drugs of dependence. It also retains the compound previously prohibited under the now repealed regulations.

These amendments follow the announcement by the Victorian Government that it intends to legalise cannabis for medical purposes, in a small trial, from 2017. This cannabis is to be grown hydroponically at a Government secured site, and is different to the synthetic cannabinoids that the Regulations cover. This legalisation will require agreement from the Commonwealth Government, which is a signatory to the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. There has been no clear indication at this stage as to the Commonwealth’s position on the medicinal use of cannabis.