Australian Medical Marijuana Information Sessions Disappoint

Australia ODC Cannabis Information
Cannabis Image: BigStock

Australia’s newly-minted Office of Drug Control carried out a series of information and consultation sessions last week on the upcoming cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis products in the country.

Australia’s Federal Government announced earlier this year the local cultivation of marijuana for medical or research purposes will be carried out under uniform guidelines across the country.

As part of this process, the Office of Drug Control (ODC) was set up and its web site was launched earlier this month. The ODC is responsible for Commonwealth regulation of medicinal cannabis cultivation, production and manufacture in Australia.

Over the last week, information and consultation sessions have been held in Brisbane, Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne and Adelaide; with a final session to occur in Perth on the 20th of July.

The sessions were geared towards parties with an interest in becoming licensed cultivators or manufacturers. The sessions also provided attendees the opportunity of contributing input to the ongoing development of Australia’s medical marijuana regulatory framework.

However, it’s been said the game is rigged. It appears the sessions weren’t all that well received by smaller potential growers; some of whom expressed disappointment that the industry may be dominated by big players; i.e. Big Pharma.

“Whilst it’s open to everyone it’s limited to a few. It’s very much pegged at corporate entities,” said Canna Pharmaceuticals’ Adam Pile.

One of the gotchas on the Australian scene is that as a signatory to the Single Convention on Narcotic drugs, it has an obligation to avoid the accumulation of cannabis in surplus to requirements within the country.

“International experience suggests that only a small number of cultivators will be necessary to meet domestic demand,” states the ODC.

It also states export of domestically grown cannabis products will not be permitted for an undetermined period of time. Additionally, cannabis grown for medicinal purposes will be restricted to that one purpose and the remainder of the plant won’t be able to be utilised for industrial purposes.

The Office of Drug Control states further details on how to apply for a cultivation licence and any requirements will be released before 30 October 2016.