Medicinal cannabis professionals who gathered in Adelaide earlier this week received a warm welcome from the South Australian Government.
The Future of Medicinal Cannabis symposium was held on Monday and featured speakers discussing the challenges and opportunities for the sector.
Among the speakers was South Australian Minister for Industry and Skills, David Pisoni
“The Marshall Liberal Government supports the development of this industry within the existing Commonwealth regulatory framework and licencing regime,” stated the Minister, who also said South Australia was “perfectly placed” for producing pharmaceutical-grade products.
“Our state has the right blend of strengths in advanced horticulture, research and specialised manufacturing to have a real competitive advantage in this space,” he said.
That’s all well and good, but what about SA patients? Some South Australians may argue medicines will still be too hard to access unless major changes are made to state and national legislation.
A recent figure bandied about put the number of South Australians permitted access at just 109, out of 1771 nationally approved Category B applications for unapproved medicinal cannabis products. This is even though the South Australian government somewhat simplified the path to access in April last year.
The changes included state authority in addition to commonwealth authority only being required after two months of treatment, and exemptions applying for patients aged 70 years or older and for Notified Palliative Care Patients. A couple of other Australian states have gotten out of the way altogether, only requiring approval at a commonwealth level regardless of circumstances.
In other news from the Symposium, event organiser LeafCann Group announced the launch of a new venture. Called Alchemy Bioservices, its function will be to oversee training and management of medical cannabis sector workers.
“Our vision is to establish South Australia as the centre of excellence for education, research, industry innovation and development for the global cannabis sector,” said LeafCann CEO Elisabetta Faenza. “LeafCann has plans to recruit up to 40 local people in its current facility before the end of 2019 and together with our partner operations, will require more than 250 employees by 2020.”