Australia could become the world’s top supplier of medicinal cannabis – after the government announced it would legalise exports of the drug.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the decision was made to benefit Australian patients and farmers.
“We have some of the best farmers in the world, we have some of the most secure conditions for the production of medicinal cannabis in the world,” he said.
“Our goal is to give our farmers and manufacturers the opportunity to be the world’s leading country for medicinal cannabis.
The medicinal cannabis industry in Australia is currently limited, but it’s expected this move will see it expand significantly.
Mr Hunt said that would provide Australian patients with a safer, more stable supply of the drug.
“By having an export product and an export market, we provide additional security for potential Australian producers and, in doing so…we secure supplies for Australian domestic patients,” he said.
“Because under the new regulations, they will have the first right of access.”
The form of medicinal canabis being used in a trial to treat cancer sufferers at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. Picture: AAP
Labor MP Anthony Albanese told reporters the issue of medicinal cannabis had bi-partisan support across the parliament.
“It appears to me Greg Hunt’s move is a sensible move forward,” he said.
“We know the medicinal use of cannabis can alleviate people’s health issues and therefore if Australia is in a position to provide support, it should do so.”