For patients in Australia who hope to use medical marijuana as an alternative treatment, this weekend saw an important milestone. The Narcotic Drug Amendment Act 2016 went into effect on Sunday, October 30th – making it officially legal for medical marijuana to be cultivated in the country for medicinal and research purposes. This has been anticipated for some time, but for patients the act going into effect is extremely important – it’s only a matter of time now before cultivation facilities are licensed and medical marijuana will be available for patients to buy legally.
“Until now, it has been difficult for patients to access medicinal cannabis products from overseas sources,” Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley said in a statement released on Sunday.
“These new laws change that situation by providing for a domestic supply of medicinal cannabis products that are not readily available for import.”
Those individuals or businesses who may be interested in applying for a license to grow medical marijuana will first be subject to strict security tests, to ensure that the facilities where the herb will be grown will be well protected. They will also need to have their locations approved, and state and territories will both be able to implement their own regulations and standards as well. It will be up to these individual states and territories to award licenses, determine what sort of cannabis plants can be grown and how many each license allows individuals and businesses to grow.
This is a big step forward for any country – and the Australian government definitely seems to have an interest in making this possible for the patients who need it. Once licenses are awarded, it will only take one or two harvests for patients to finally be able to obtain medical marijuana on a legal market – without having products imported from other countries.
Those who obtain licenses to grow medical cannabis will not only be supplying it to patients, however; they also get the opportunity to grow additional cannabis for research purposes. There are already hundreds of individuals and businesses, both local and international, who have shown significant interest in gaining one of these licenses – and that’s likely one of the reasons for it.
For researchers, scientists and doctors, it would be ideal to get one of these licenses to grow, so that they could legally research both the plant and concentrates made from the plant from all angles. Applications for licenses will likely be available soon to those who wish to be a part of Australia’s new legal medical marijuana industry.