Mr Benjamin is a family friend of the Martins, who were on hand on Tuesday for Medifarm’s official opening.
Mr Benjamin said they would be supplying products to local doctors before the end of the year.
Medifarm’s multimillion-dollar facility, in a top-secret location in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, has been officially opened by federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, who visited the site on Tuesday.
“As for the other 78 licences, good on them, people often ask is it competitive, well, if you can be in the race to supply life-changing medicine to Aussie patients, what an amazing race.”
Up until now, Australian doctors could prescribe medicinal cannabis but had to source it from overseas, however Medifarm and a number of other facilities are either ready to begin local production or nearing that stage.
Medifarm has set itself up as a complete supply chain – growing and processing the cannabis itself, and then also producing the medicines from it for sale.
Mark Martin said it was a big leap forward for patients.
“It’s very important to maintain supply in the future to patients that we build up our reserves, we have a huge amount that we’re building up so as we come to market our supply chain is continuous and the quality is continuous.”
“We have already two harvests out of the four or five growth cycles that can happen in a year,” he said.
Queensland's first medicinal cannabis farm has been officially opened, looking to become the first in the country to supply to local patients
A trailer for the shows coming to SBS VICELAND, including WEEDIQUETTE.
“I was motivated by my mother’s struggle with an illness that could be treated by medicinal cannabis,” he told VICE about getting into the industry. “She’s been in and out of hospital for the last seven years of my life.”
We say in theory, because one of the first hurdles potential growers have to pass is the Office of Drug Control’s “fit and proper person” test. It’s meant to ensure you are “an individual of good repute,” who won’t be tempted to sell your marijuana crop on the black market.
Unlike the US, Australia has taken a very top down approach to medical marijuana—legalising at the federal level first, and then letting the states add their own regulations as they go. In many ways, it could make for a neater system, one focused on critically ill patients and medical research. But it’s also likely to be a lot more bureaucratic.
Luckily for Organic Therapeutic, the Narcotic Drugs Act has specific provisions that “allow persons who may have previously been involved in the use or supply of cannabis for compassionate or medicinal purposes only to participate in the medicinal cannabis scheme.” This means those who’ve been public advocates for supplying medical cannabis, like Tony Bower or Lucy Haslam, won’t be punished under the new laws, in theory.
“Our study with Sydney University Business School [found] legalising medical cannabis in Australia may build an industry initially worth $150 million per year,” Adam said. “Medical cannabis has the potential to be a multi-billion dollar industry and can create thousands of skilled jobs, generating tens of millions in tax and foreign investment.”
Photo via Flickr user Bob Doran.
The Office of Drug Control also issues permits which strictly outline the type (and quantity) of cannabis that can be cultivated. It also dictates who you must pass the product onto, once it’s grown. That’s to ensure Australia doesn’t end up overproducing medical cannabis, and doesn’t violate the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961. If we do, the country’s entire medical cannabis industry could be in jeopardy.
Another thing the Office of Drug Control will consider is whether or not your business can stay stable and secure. For example, you must prove that you’ve got agreements with manufacturers that are willing to take the raw cannabis crop you grow and turn it into medical cannabis products.
Here's everything you need to know about getting a license to grow medicine.