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Tablelands pharmacy sets sights on medical cannabis business

Yungaburra Pharmacy co-owner Mark Hope wants to be one of the first chemists in Queensland to legally dispense medical cannabis.

A TABLELANDS pharmacy is preparing to become one of the first medical marijuana ­dispensaries in Queensland should the drug be legalised in Australia.

Yungaburra Pharmacy co-owner Mark Hope has spent thousands of dollars on buying online domain names such as and to start selling the herb should it be decriminalised for use by the terminally ill, chronic pain sufferers and those with drug-resistant epilepsy.

Queensland is partnering with New South Wales to start trials with the drug next year, with Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley suggesting a medical cannabis industry could flourish in Australia.

Mr Hope, who with his pharmacist wife visited California in 2009, saw the benefits of the drug medically and commercially.

“The way that we see it, it is for epileptics, for people who are dying of cancers and things like that, to prevent pain, and for chronic pain sufferers,’’ he said.

“I’m not claiming that it’s a wonder drug, unlike everyone else, but it definitely has certain applications.”

The couple has been trialling selling legal herbal treatments, such as Valerian, and recently purchased a capsule machine to make herbal remedy pills.

“We went down to Byron Bay and did a manufacturing course back in April,’’ Mr Hope said. “We’re using it to complement our prescription drugs, and that’s really where we see marijuana as well.

“We don’t really see it as a one-all treatment.

“We see it as something to complement morphines, or an alternative to it.”

Legal marijuana is reportedly the fastest-growing industry in the US, according to The Huffington Post, with the market growing 74 per cent in 2014 to be worth $2.7 billion, up from $1.5 billion in 2013.

Mr Hope said he was hoping to dispense medicinal cannabis straight from the pharmacy, in addition to online sales.

“The frustrating thing is that people are doing things already that are approved by qualified health professionals,’’ he said.

“(Pharmacists) can’t touch any of it, and sort of experiment with it, or try it out on people, because it’s not yet legal. Yet people are selling it on social media and things like that.”

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