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March 4, 2021

Federal govt moves towards medical cannabis regulation

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The  Federal Government will move towards allowing the cultivation of medical cannabis. (file pic)
The Federal Government will move towards allowing the cultivation of medical cannabis. (file pic)

Strange bedfellows Nimbin’s Hemp Embassy and Nationals Page MP Kevin Hogan have welcomed news that the federal government will seek parliamentary support to allow the controlled cultivation of cannabis for medicinal or scientific purposes in Australia.

Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone said the move could lead to massive opportunities for the northern rivers to increase employment in a future industry.

Mr Hogan agreed, saying the region could be a prime cultivation area.

Page MP Kevin Hogan. (file pic)
Page MP Kevin Hogan. (file pic)

‘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,’ Mr Hogan said.

‘Given our climate and strong agricultural sector, the northern rivers would be perfectly placed for the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal use,’ Mr Hogan said.

Mr Balderstone said however that while it was fantastic that the federal government was finally recognising that cannabis has terrific medicinal properties, there needed to be recognition that thousands of people used cannabis already as a medicine.

‘They’re saying it’s okay to treat things that pharmaceuticals can’t treat, or have shocking side effects, but will they keep chasing people who use it already as a medicine?’

Federal health minister Sussan Ley announced at the weekend that the government was in the process of finalising draft amendments to the Narcotics Drugs Act 1967 to allow the controlled cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and scientific purposes in Australia.

Ms Ley also said the government would create a Commonwealth licensing scheme within the department of health to ensure cultivation meets Australia’s international obligations.

She said allowing controlled cultivation locally would provide the critical “missing piece” for the Commonwealth to enable a sustainable supply of a safe medicinal cannabis product to Australian patients in the future.

It will also allow the government to closely manage the supply of medicinal cannabis products from “farm to pharmacy”, Ms Ley said.

This will be done in conjunction with necessary state or territory regulations and there will be discussions at the next COAG about how this can progress.

Ms Ley said the government was sympathetic to the suffering ‘of those Australians with debilitating illnesses and we want to enable access to the most effective medical treatments available’.

‘Currently there are already systems in place to licence the manufacture and supply of medicinal cannabis-based products in Australia, however there is no mechanism to allow the production of a safe, legal and sustainable local supply,’ she said.

‘This has meant Australian patients, researchers and manufacturers have had to try to access international supplies of legal medicinal cannabis crops and products, but limited supplies and export barriers in other countries have made this difficult.

‘Allowing the cultivation of legal medicinal cannabis crops in Australia under strict controls strikes the right balance between patient access, community protection and our international obligations.’

Nimbin HEMP Embassy president Michael Balderstone. (file pic)
Nimbin HEMP Embassy president Michael Balderstone. (file pic)

Mr Balderstone said the governments should see an opportunity to provide employment and economic growth in areas such as the north coast.

‘Here’s a chance to get “pot smoking dole bludgers” working and paying tax,’ Mr Balderstone said.

‘There have been 20,000 people employed in Colorado, which has the same population as Sydney, and on the north coast thousands of people could have legitimate jobs.

‘If they don’t use the local knowledge of growers who have been doing this for decades then they have rocks in their head,’ he said.

Meanwhile, Ms Ley said it was intended to have draft legislation before the parliament by the end of the year after cross-party consultations.

She said the Commonwealth licensing scheme would set out the obligations and legislative framework requirements for states and territories looking to set up agricultural industries around the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal or scientific purposes

‘It’s imperative we have a clear national licensing system to ensure we maintain the integrity of crops for medicinal or scientific purposes,’ she said.

‘It allows us to closely manage the supply of medicinal cannabis products from farm to pharmacy.

‘We also want to make sure that this approval and monitoring process for cultivation isn’t fragmented across different jurisdictions and provides regulatory consistency.’



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  1. Not nearly enough. Government needs to remove any and all restriction from this plant immediately. We already know it cures almost anything and is essential for true human health. We already know it produces the best quality paper, fabrics, plastics, concrete and building materials and would instantly wipe out many of the most pollutive (and profitable) industries on Earth, and we already know it has been responsible for zero deaths in over 12,000 years of recorded use and the last thing we need is government getting in the way of using it. Outlawing Cannabis is a crime against humanity and its about time people began calling it for what it is and calling for action against those politicians who continue to support the farce and crime of its currently outlawed status.

  2. ‘Here’s a chance to get “pot smoking dole bludgers” working and paying tax,’ Mr Balderstone is reported to have said in your story (Echo Daily 19 October) about the rush to legalise medicinal cannabis by the feds and the states.

    In other quotes he offered lots of humble and sage advice to politicians so as to help them make the transition from their generations long prohibition thinking.

    But reading that one, I just had to laugh and my heart swelled with love and admiration for my friend, Michael Balderstone, president of the Nimbin HEMP Embassy ever a master of the throw away line, a Nimbin stand up comic in his own right.

    Congratulations Michael Balderstone! It’s been a long campaign and i am proud to say i am one who walked beside on it you for time. I was hanging about during the opening of the HEMP Embassy and the founding of the Nimbin Mardi Grass. How long ago was that? Twenty years plus.

    Hear the truth, my uplifting friend!

    You, the Nimbin Mardi Grass and the HEMP Party have won a great victory over ignorance, government lies, and the vested interests and corruption of the police and prison complex.

    You are a hero of the HEMP Republic, First Class!

    And a friend indeed to many, many pot smokers and chronic pain sufferers.

  3. This plant does not need to be cornered in by big pharma for medicinal or any use. In the USA & Canada, it is helping many people through educated dispensaries that have nothing to do with big pharma.

    Big pharma wants to block any use they do not make a profit from, and its absurd that they should be in control, as they have the aim of profits only, not to cure people or make them healthy.

    Big pharma does not make profits from healthy cured people, which does occur through dispensaries elsewhere already.
    We just need knowledgeable dispensaries & doctors, as exists overseas, without big pharma profits control.

    Regulation & normal biz taxation works just fine through dispensaries without big pharma, benefiting citizens govt. & infrastructure, not private profits to a few only.

    We do need labs to help, as is is done overseas, such as Steep Hill or Cascade, & others overseas, nothing to do with big pharma, who try to block them.

    Above ground and in control for citizens, Govt & infrastructure is a lot better than underground and out of control for opposition profits, such as for cartels/banks, big pharma, alcohol, & tobacco or profit prisons, which all seriously harm or kill many thousands of people every year ..something this plant cannot do, and does not, any year.
    Precision works just fine without big pharma, through articulate dispensaries & Labs, with good regulation & standard biz taxes.

    The proof of this is already there, thanks. Look it up with a search engine Ms. Ley. Don’t be another sell out to big pharma and the rest of corruption for profits only.

    Allow people, govt & infrastructure to be first instead. Legalize use of this plant without big pharma in control. This will end a lot of useless suffering and death. Please understand this Ms. Ley.

  4. I agree with Graeme about Michael but I’m afraid I’m with Jerry. The governments are so far away from helping people or farmers at this time they only react to big business lobbyists and some media…….it’s all about the cash man!

    Not saying it won’t change but that is the state of play we have to deal with!

  5. I have relatives in Canada, medicinal cannabis has cured their auto immune disease and back working part time. Would cure my Rheumatoid auto immune disease at one tenth the cost of Pharma drugs. MC has virtually none of the side effects. One biologic tells me it could render me brain dead on first injection it costs $48,000… would you like to try it ? 750,000 Aussies have Rheumatoid and numbers growing. Around 5 Million Osteoarthritis, 1 Million other kinds of auto immune disease. Medical Cannabis (al la Canada) $6,000 per year !!!

    Huge potential for Australia jobs jobs, no English nor university degree needed, over 50’s can do much of the growing work too. Australian Pharma make and pay tax. USA says the $ value of MC is around $180Billion to their economy. We could do even more as we have the China market where we are known for our clean green produce…think $500 Billion p.a.

    Don’t delay legalisation for millions of us out here unnecessarily suffering.


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