Last month, there were just under 10,000 approvals under the scheme, compared to 3,926 at the same time last year, according to the Department of Health.
Construction of the facility on the outskirts of Toowoomba is set to begin within six months and will produce 500 tonnes of marijuana a year with an export value of more than $1 billion.
Low-dose medicinal cannabis is now legal to sell in Australia in chemists without a prescription because of new rules introduced by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in February.
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"We see Australia becoming the global leader in medicinal cannabis production," Mr Cantelo said.
He said ANTG's existing facility in NSW would soon struggle to meet domestic market demand, hence its new interest in a mega farm in Toowoomba.
That has not deterred the community from supporting plans for a local medicinal cannabis industry.
The scheme allows any GP to apply to TGA to prescribe patients cannabinoid medicines.
"But the proof is in the pudding because the farmers are still applying.
"The significant number of applications is evidence that the farming and growing community has embraced this opportunity and will deliver on it."
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"There is also some preliminary evidence pointing to a role [medicinal cannabis plays] in other neurological disorders," Dr Bartone said.
"Depending on the size of your facility it moves into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, so you need money in the bank," Mr Benjamin said.
Tough security requirements
Mr Hunt argues the tough standards are not holding the industry back, or deterring future farmers.
Getting a licence to grow medical cannabis could also take a while. The Victorian Agriculture Minister has already indicated it could take up to four years from initial application to approval.
It seems there is still quite a bit of confusion about what this years legislative changes mean both at state and federal levels. In this article, we give you a quick breakdown of the major federal change and what it means.
Earlier in the year, the Federal Government made changes to the Narcotic Drugs Act of 1967, which allow cannabis to be cultivated legally in Australia. Following on from this, it was announced a site in northern New South Wales would be the first farm to produce cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Even if you do want to grow cannabis to treat an illness, there is a strict set of rules around who is allowed to grow it. Growing licences from the government, will have a range of requirements associated with them, including a criminal history check, a suitable property for growing, appropriate security to prevent theft, and only certain strains will be allowed to be grown.
But hasn’t it been legal to grow hemp in Australia for a while?
The production of cannabis in Australia is primarily intended to supply pharmaceutical preparations of the drug, so chemicals can be extracted from the plant in a controlled scientific setting. Its kind of like the situation we already have in Tasmania where tightly-controlled poppy farms produce opioids to create medicine. At this point, its not intended to be a situation like in the USA, where growers can supply dispensaries where the product is intended to be smoked or consumed with very little understanding of exactly what is in each dose.
Yes, it has been legal to grow hemp containing low levels of THC in Australia for some time now. Although a variety of cannabis sativa, hemp is not the same plant and is only grown for industrial use. It has been used to create lots of different products, from health foods to textiles. The hemp farmed here has such low levels of THC it doesn t provide any high when smoked or consumed.
Not so fast. Before you grab the shovel and watering can, lets get this straight: no, you can t start growing and consuming your own marijuana in Australia it s still illegal.
What are the changes that have been made?
Since then, Victoria and New South Wales have been looking at how cannabis cultivation can be accommodated in each state. Victoria recently passed legislation allowing the manufacture, supply and access to medicinal cannabis, and then set about establishing a small cultivation trial. New South Wales received permission from the Federal Government to conduct cannabis cultivation research and start growing marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Recently, in response to the legislative changes made by the Federal Government, we have been contacted by quite a few people looking for information about how they can start their own cannabis farm or shop, here in Australia.