The Nimbin Hemp Embassy will apply for a licence to cultivate medicinal cannabis following the passing of laws in Federal parliament this week.
Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone said the Embassy had contacts with a network of growers and healers on the north coast of New South Wales.
‘We are a non-profit organization and we know the cannabis culture really well,’ Mr Balderstone said.
‘This is an opportunity to create genuine legal, taxable employment in this region.’
His comments followed the passing of legislation that clears the way for Australia’s State and Territory governments and companies to apply for a license to locally cultivate or manufacture medicinal cannabis products.
‘This is a great opportunity for “Hemployment” … in the application we will point out that we have connections with growers and medicine makers,’ he said.
Richmond MP Justine Elliott and Page MP Kevin Hogan both welcomed the new laws.
Ms Elliott said Patients who were suffering from a terminal illness or other serious medical conditions should be able to access safe, reliable and legal medicinal cannabis.
‘In supporting this idea, we are driven by the science, by compassion and by the need to treat people with dignity. We firmly believe that the time has come for a national scheme,’ she said.
‘As it stands, the situation means that families who access medical cannabis products are now accessing it illegally and, in fact accessing it on the black market.
‘That means, of course, that they are at risk of being arrested and convicted, and no-one — no family — should have to choose between getting their loved one the medicine they need and breaking the law.
‘It is simply an unfair choice to have to make.’
Meanwhile, Lismore MP Kevin Hogan also welcomed the ‘historic’ legislation.
‘I have heard numerous stories from members of our community with debilitating illnesses who want access to medicinal cannabis to help relief their chronic pain and improve the quality of their lives,” he said.
‘This legislation clears the way for Australia’s State and Territory governments and companies to apply for a license to locally cultivate or manufacture medicinal cannabis products.
‘It was always vital we had a clear national licensing system to ensure the integrity of crops for medicinal or scientific purposes, with the new laws enabling the Commonwealth to track the development of medicinal cannabis products from the farm to the pharmacy.”
An independent Advisory Committee will now be established to oversee the next stage of the rollout of a national regulator now legislation has passed.
Mr Hogan said the legislation does not relate to the decriminalisation of cannabis for general cultivation or recreational use, which remains a law enforcement issue for individual states and territories.
Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone said it was time to change the focus of law enforcement with regards to cannabis.
‘We are still a long way from a medical cannabis user being able to have a few plants in their backyard, which is how it should be,’ he said.
‘We should also be looking to America and Europe for ways to allow the recreational use of cannabis.’