Christmas Island may host medical cannabis

Canberra [AAP]

Christmas Island could be a potential site for a medicinal cannabis crop trial.

Territories Minister Paul Fletcher is touring Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands this week and is looking at ways to expand employment opportunities.

‘Christmas Island could be a possible location, given its remoteness,’ he told ABC radio.

The ABC reported that the planned new direction for the island’s economy has been driven by research from Murdoch University showing the island is ideal for growing medicinal cannabis.

The work of Murdoch’s team is so promising, they stand poised to sign a deal to become the research arm of AusCann, a Perth-based medicinal cannabis company chaired by former Liberal MP Mal Washer.

They plan to plant the first trials of industrial-grade hemp in January, subject to WA Government approval.

‘Globally, it’s an emerging market and it’s just the right time to do it,” Murdoch’s Centre for Rhizobium Studies research leader John Howieson told the ABC.

However, like many investors, they are waiting to see the detail of legislation due to be introduced to Federal Parliament by the end of the year before they plan their next business move.

The ABC says that federal health minister Sussan Ley has said her bill would legalise the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal or scientific purposes, potentially giving the green light to the Christmas Island project.

But AusCann is obtaining advice on whether it will also need enabling legislation from the WA Government before it can proceed.

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