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Australia to cultivate medical cannabis for research
Although a small number of Australian States have been growing hemp, these have only been on an experimental or trial basis. For the majority of Australia, growing hemp remains illegal. Industry experts believe the government controlled supply is insufficient to satisfy research, patient and clinical demand.
Breaking Government Monopoly
As a direct result of tight hemp controls, researchers wanting hemp oil have been forced to pay expensive import taxes, while struggling through a minefield of paperwork. Media spokesperson for Health Minister Susan Ley is quoted as saying local cultivation will allow for sustainable, legal supply of cannabis hemp oil to medical patients. She was quick to point out that cannabis would not be available to the general public.
Where does Australia stand internationally?
Many countries around the world are looking at decriminalization of cannabis – including its psychoactive cultivars. Over 23 states in the USA have medical marijuana legislation in place, and Canada is on the fast track to legalize recreational use. This comes in the wake of a campaign promise made by Prime Minister Trudeau in the run-up to his election.
Whether or not the Australian government will take a similar approach remains to be seen. Although Australia will roll out a very limited medical marijuana program, it remains unlikely that the country will follow the route of full legalization, at least, not in the near future.
Hemp and Medical Science
Australia’s first medical marijuana company says cannabis hemp oil could be used in the effective treatment of numerous ailments and that there is a ‘substantial’ market for medical cannabis in Australia. Scientifically speaking, however, trials are as yet not sufficiently conclusive to prescribe cannabis for most of the ailments it is said to treat.
If one considers the US state of Colorado is set to reach $1 billion in marijuana sales in 2016 and that the government will profit from a hefty tax, then it starts to become clear the motivation for Australia to legalize cannabis goes beyond its medical benefits alone.
In a world where money talks, refilling the nation’s coffers with $100 million in taxes speaks volumes. Australian society, infrastructure, charitable organizations, education, etc. could all receive welcome benefits from revenues derived from a cannabis tax.
Australia’s medical cannabis bill will not result in a rollout of medical cannabis to the general public. Even non-psychoactive hemp cannot be used as a food in Australia, and CBD hemp oil may only be included in products intended for external use such as hemp soap or skin creams.
However, research progress will be speeded up once researchers finally get to have enough material to use in studies. This will add to the global knowledge base regarding the use of medical cannabis.