Australian Minister Visits Canadian Medical Cannabis Facility

Jaala Pulford - Medical Cannabis
Image : Jaala Pulford

Victoria’s Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development toured a Canadian a medical marijuana production facility last week; picking up some tips.

Jaala Pulford inspected Aurora Cannabis’s 75,000-square-metre Aurora Sky facility, which is currently under construction.

“We’re now at the point where we need to see what this looks like on a large scale,” said Minister Pulford according to an article on the Edmonton Sun.

The article also provides some insight into how many legal medical cannabis plants are being grown in Victoria currently – just 1,600.

Australia’s medicinal cannabis industry is in its earliest days, and the knowledge that has been gained in Canada over recent years will help guide us and take us forward,” said Minister Pulford prior to the Aurora tour.

“..  we are keen to find out from other, more established markets what some of the opportunities and challenges are.”

Victoria’s first legal medicinal cannabis crop was only planted in April last year, at an undisclosed location in the state.

Prior to that crop being planted, Ms. Pulford said  in late 2015 it would be “maybe three or four years” before the State Government had developed medical cannabis to the point it could exit the industry and hand it over to commercial interests.

A more recent cannabis first for the state was a Victorian company, Cann Group Limited, receiving the first research licence issued by the Australian Government’s Office of Drug Control in February 2017. That was followed in  March by Cann being issued Australia’s first medicinal cannabis cultivation licence. In June, it was awarded the first commercial permit for cultivation in Victoria and also received the first plants from Agriculture Victoria’s growing facility.

There is a strong link between Australia’s Cann and Aurora Cannabis – Aurora is a key investor in the company; holding a 19.9% stake.

While things are still moving slowly in Australia on the medical cannabis front, Victoria is among the more progressive of the states. In addition to being the first to grow a crop, it was the first Australian state to legalise medical cannabis in exceptional circumstances, which then turned up the pressure on other states to follow suit.

In May this year, Minister Pulford officially launched the Medicinal Cannabis Leadership Program, Australia’s first training program in the field.