Laws change for Queensland medicinal cannabis seed suppliers

Published Friday, 24 March, 2017 at 08:20 AM

Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Economic Development
The Honourable Bill Byrne

Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Bill Byrne today announced the Palaszczuk Government has amended laws to allow licensed growers and researchers in the state to supply cannabis seeds into Australia’s medicinal cannabis supply chain.

The Queensland industrial cannabis industry has developed valuable cannabis seed lines for which it holds plant breeder rights, Minister Byrne said.

This week’s amendments to the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 will allow the industrial cannabis industry to supply seed into the medicinal cannabis supply chain now that the Federal Government’s medicinal cannabis scheme has started.

The law changes follow suggestions made at Queensland Government public roundtable meetings held across the state in 2016 to discuss the medicinal cannabis scheme.

“We listened to what industry had to say, and took the matter to Canberra, who are now allowing seed to be sourced from legal Australian breeders,” Minister Byrne said.

The amendments will also ensure Queensland industrial cannabis growers can compete fairly with growers in other jurisdictions in supplying seed to licensed medicinal cannabis growers and scientific researchers.

“This creates new opportunities for Queenslanders. The changes will be mutually beneficial for licensed industrial cannabis growers and those Queensland businesses interested in being part of the emerging medicinal cannabis industry in Australia,” Minister Byrne said.

He said the Federal Government will maintain a strictly controlled licensing system and that the new laws would not allow anyone to grow their own cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Minister for Health, Cameron Dick said while recent moves to allow importation of medicinal cannabis and the issuing of Australia’s first license for the cultivation of the product goes some way toward addressing supply issues, affordability of the product still remains an issue for many patients.

“It is important that the cost issue be addressed and that is why I wrote to Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt last month to request the Commonwealth accelerate the process of making medicinal cannabis more affordable by placing it on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS),” the Minister said.

“Unfortunately, Minister Hunt rejected the Palaszczuk Government’s request to subsidise medicinal cannabis.

“However we would urge Minister Hunt to reconsider his decision. As a Government, we’ve put in place the most robust scheme in Australia to allow appropriate patients access to medicinal cannabis. We want it to be as affordable as possible, but that ball is now in the Commonwealth’s court.”

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