Queensland’s licensed industrial cannabis growers and researchers can now legally supply cannabis seeds to the budding Australian medicinal cannabis market, hopefully making the drug cheaper for patients.
The Palaszczuk government has changed the state’s Drugs Misuse Act 1986 so that Queensland’s industrial cannabis growers will be allowed to sell the seeds to companies further up the supply chain in what is set to be a growth industry since the federal government greenlighted medicinal cannabis to treat some conditions such as epilepsy, cancer and HIV.
Queensland Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Bill Byrne said that the Queensland industrial cannabis industry had developed valuable cannabis seed lines for which it held plant breeder rights.
Industry players and patients had pushed for the amendment at public roundtable meetings held across the state last year.
“We listened to what industry had to say, and took the matter to Canberra, who are now allowing seed to be sourced from legal Australian breeders,” Mr Byrne said.
He said the changes meant Queensland’s industrial cannabis growers could compete with growers in other states to supply seed to licensed medicinal cannabis growers and scientific researchers.
“This creates new opportunities for Queenslanders. The changes will be mutually beneficial for licensed industrial cannabis growers and those Queensland businesses interested in being part of the emerging medicinal cannabis industry in Australia,” he said.
The Federal Government will maintain a strictly controlled licensing system and the new laws would not allow just anyone to grow their own cannabis for medicinal purposes, Mr Byrne emphasised.
But Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick said the affordability of medicinal cannabis remained an issue for many sick Australians, despite recent changes approving the importation of medicinal cannabis and the first license to cultivate medicinal cannabis being issued in Australia.
Mr Dick said medicinal cannabis could be made more affordable by placing it on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
“Unfortunately, (Federal Health) Minister Greg Hunt rejected the Palaszczuk government’s request to subsidise medicinal cannabis,” Mr Dick said.
“However we would urge Minister Hunt to reconsider his decision. As a government, we’ve put in place the most robust scheme in Australia to allow appropriate patients access to medicinal cannabis. We want it to be as affordable as possible, but that ball is now in the Commonwealth’s court.”
Meanwhile more and more medicinal cannabis companies – both Australian and international – are listing on the ASX in what has been described as the ‘pot stock’ boom. Read more here.
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