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Medicinal cannabis licencing system to weed out bad operators

Medicinal cannabis will soon be grown by Far Northerners under new permits. FAR Northerners interested in growing medicinal cannabis will soon be able to apply under a national licencing system that aims to weed out dodgy operators. The Federal Department of Health has warned applicants will have to prove they are “fit and proper” to cultivate the crop and that it won’t fall into the wrong hands. “The fit and proper requirements include consideration of convictions of the applicant and business associates, their business history, their financial status and whether they are of good repute,” said a department spokeswoman. “The security requirements will be designed to ensure no unauthorised access to the cannabis crop. “Cultivation sites will have to be discreet and cannabis crops not visible to the public. Cultivators must be able to demonstrate that they will be supplying a licensed manufacturer in order to get a licence.” Licence holders will also need to meet the conditions of their permit, which will outline the amounts and types of cannabis they can produce. The Department has received significant interest across Australia, including about 200 letters and emails in recent months, since the Commonwealth passed the historic legislation in February. Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch, who championed the legalisation of medicinal cannabis, has also been fielding inquiries. He said licence applications would be accepted from October 30. “We’re doing trials on a range of products and getting to the stage where we’re ready now for people to put in their first crops, so it’s quite exciting,” he said. “We all know we have a great growing area for it up here but you’re not going to see broadacre farming like sugarcane, I suspect it will all be done in a greenhouse environment.” Australia is currently only permitted to grow cannabis for domestic use but Mr Entsch hopes that will change. “Once we’ve got it right and we can prove to the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board we can do it right and well, and safely and securely, that will then open up opportunities to export because there is a very big shortage around the world,” he said.

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