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New South Wales wants to be the first place to grow medicinal cannabis in Australia

New South Wales has applied to the federal government to be the first state allowed to grow marijuana for medicinal use. Premier Mike Baird confirmed on Monday that his government had submitted a request to undertake cultivation research for medicinal cannabis. “The Commonwealth is currently assessing this request and, if approved, NSW will select a high security site(s) for cultivation research that satisfies any conditions imposed by the license,” a spokesperson for the premier told Business Insider. The Turnbull government paved the way for cannabis production in February this year, with national laws that allow the drug to be grown legally for the manufacture of medicinal cannabis products, as well as using them to treat painful and chronic illness in what health minister Sussan Ley called a “farm to pharmacy” policy. Research by the University of Sydney Business School concluded that the Australian medicinal cannabis industry could be worth more than $100 million annually, requiring around 8000kg of the drug. Lucy Haslam, whose son, Dan, helped convince NSW premier Mike Baird to change the law on medicinal cannabis before he died of cancer last year, aged 25, is among those keen to grow the drug. Haslam joined Baird on a recent tour to Israel to investigate the country’s thriving medicinal cannabis industry. Last month Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce opened Haslam’s 47-hectare DanEden farm near Tamworth, where she hopes to be among the first to produce the drug. NSW is leading the way in research on the most effective ways to administer the drug, via ASX-listed Medlab Clinical. Trials of cannabis-based drugs are currently underway, with a focus on children with epilepsy, terminal illness and chemotherapy-induced nausea. Another Sydney-based business, MGC Pharmaceuticals, is currently developing a federal government white paper on creating a medical cannabis industry, and building a cultivation and extraction plant in Slovenia. The Victorian government announced last year that it will legalise the drug for medical use in 2017.

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