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Victoria to develop cannabis industry to supply the state with medicinal marijuana

The Victorian Government is paving the way for a new crop to be grown in the state.

Premier Daniel Andrews has announced Victoria will legalise the use of medicinal cannabis for specific cases of pain relief.

As part of the announcement the Government will create a new industry to grow and process cannabis products for pain relief purposes.

Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said in the first instance the state will grow and process the crop.

"Government has identified a research facility as a place where the trial will be conducted," Ms Pulford said.

"It will be a secure location."

However the Minister intends to eventually hand over the industry to private companies.

"It will take a number of years, maybe three or four years before we've got the product sufficiently developed that we'll be able to gracefully exit the industry we've built." Farmers are already interested in growing the potentially lucrative new crop

Former tobacco growers near Myrtleford, in Victoria's north east, say that they have the skills to grow and harvest cannabis.

Minister Pulford is tight lipped over their chances of taking part.

"The department has had a number of expressions of interest... from people that are involved in horticulture, people that have experience in different types of product, including some from overseas."

"We'll need industry to play a really big role in this." Federal Government approval needed

Before the Victorian Government can begin to grow and process Cannabis it will need approval from the Federal Government.

"We are in discussions with the Commonwealth Government," Minister Pulford said.

"There are a couple of really important things that we're seeking from them, right at the beginning of this.

"One is for the approval to importation of seed that's something that the Federal Government need to agree to."

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