Victoria’s government has awarded the first commercial permit for cultivation of medical cannabis in the Australian state to a local company.
The permit was issued to Cann Group, which is now in receipt of the first plants from Agriculture Victoria’s growing facility – the location of which is secret.
“This week marks the birth of a brand new industry in Australia,” said Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford. “While this is ground-breaking for our agricultural scientists, it will be life-changing for patients who need it most.”
In March (PDF), the Melbourne-based company was issued with a licence from the Federal Government to produce Australian-grown cannabis for prescription purposes. In February, it was granted a cannabis research licence.
“Cann is focused on our first cultivation and expanding our facilities to ensure we can provide medicinal cannabis products to patients across Australia in the shortest possible timeframe,” said Cann Group Limited CEO Peter Crock.
The first plants being cultivated by Cann are expected to be harvested by early August 2017. The crop will be the first locally produced medicinal cannabis to be legally available in Australia.
Mr. Crock is going to be a busy man – he’s also a facilitator/contributor in the upcoming Medicinal Cannabis Leadership Program that we mentioned yesterday.
Prior to Cann Group, Mr. Crock spent 28 years in various roles with ag giant, Nufarm Limited. ASX-listed Cann Group’s Board is led by Allan McCallum, who has 30 years under his belt in the agricultural sector, including extensive experience in biotechnology companies.
The Andrews Labor Government says the newly-minted Office of Medicinal Cannabis is already working with doctors to assist them in understanding their role in prescribing medicinal cannabis, and educating patients and families in the state about the medicines and eligibility for the scheme.
The Office was set up as part of a $28.5 million package to establish it and an Independent Medical Advisory Committee; with the latter to recommend products to be approved.
Victoria was the first Australian state to legalise medical cannabis in exceptional circumstances under the Access to Medicinal Cannabis Act 2016 (PDF), which then put pressure on other states to follow suit.
While awaiting products made from locally grown cannabis, the first children in the state to receive medicines will be provided a product imported from Canada.
Further details about Victoria’s program can be viewed here.