The last weekend of October proved to be one for the cannabis reform history books.
On Sunday the 30th, Australia enacted the Narcotics Drugs Amendment Bill of 2016 to “establish licensing and permit schemes for the cultivation and production of cannabis and cannabis resin for medicinal and scientific purposes.”
The Office of Drug Control is currently accepting applications for cultivation licenses from companies and individuals. Those who are granted permission to grow nature’s most versatile crop in the land of Oz can only supply it to a licensed medical cannabis manufacturer or researcher.
Further to the supply chain details, anyone applying will need to pass a test to prove they are “fit and proper” as the government puts it — a background and security check to ensure the potential cultivator will take the precautions necessary to protect a high-demand crop prone to theft.
ABC reported that hundreds of people have been attending information sessions on how to obtain a license, so it’s clear that interest in the burgeoning Australian cannabis industry is high. Attendees ranged from small individual operators to large international corporations.
Some estimates, like the one from Tom Richardson of The Motley Fool, project an Australian medical marijuana industry worth upwards of $75 million annually. For a country with a population of approximately 25 million people, that would be a significant sales number.
In the official announcement of the enactment on Sunday, Australian Health Minister Sussan Ley touted the amendment as a “safe, reliable and legal source of cannabis for medicinal use;” Ley also stressed that the changes do not decriminalize recreational cannabis use.
Australia’s marijuana reform is the most recent example of the shifting global attitudes toward cannabis and hemp. More importantly, it’s another significant step away from decades of unnecessary prohibition.
Well done Aussies, well done.
(Photo Courtesy of Allie Beckett)