“It looks good on the outside,” explains Paul. “It helps our Government look proactive when it comes to the issue of medical cannabis, but in reality Australia may still be years away from access to real medicinal marijuana products.”
Paul’s scepticism stems from over 25 years as an early pioneer in the hemp food and cannabis industries both here and globally. In 2013 Paul set up the Elixinol medical cannabis company in the United States rather than his home State of New South Wales. Manufacturing his low THC whole plant cannabis tinctures and medical pastes would be deemed illegal here in Australia, even with only insignificant amounts of the psychoactive THC present in his products.
“The only way you can access our products here right now is through our website in the United States, but we would like to grow and manufacture our products here in Australia.”
Elixinol has up until this point focused their energies on creating products that are safe, predictable and free from THC to allow access to the benefits of medical cannabis to children and adults suffering from a wide range of illnesses. “With this new proposed legislation, in reality we are no closer to where we want to be, and that’s here in Australia,” adds Paul.
While the new legislation allows for cultivation of medical grade cannabis under a Federal controlled licensing system, it will be left up to the States to decide how the product will be consumed, if at all.
“What I’m most concerned about is that this legislation may stifle this emerging industry rather than promote it, as most State Governments are already leaning heavily towards the pharmaceutical industry over experienced manufactures of naturally derived products. We approached the QLD Department of Agriculture to allow us to grow medical cannabis this week after the federal announcement. We were bluntly told by a Queensland department staff member that ‘there is no way you were going to be allowed to grow medical cannabis in Queensland ever.’ “
So far it’s Victoria that is leading the way in natural medical cannabis. The Victorian Government has created their own legislation surrounding the use of plant derived product.
“They seem to understand and recognise the benefits of using whole plant products and want to support the people that can benefit most from this product,” Pauls says.
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