The South Australian Government is considering the establishment of industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis industries, following a roundtable discussion earlier this week.
Member for Light, Tony Piccolo supports medicinal cannabis and believes the state could benefit from an industrial hemp industry.
He told Anita on the Regional Roundup about the situation:
Amendments to the Federal Government’s Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 came into operation in October last year, allowing the controlled cultivation of cannabis for medicinal or scientific purposes under a national licensing scheme.
Patients with a serious, chronic illness that is unresponsive to conventional treatment can be considered for access to medicinal cannabis by prescription from specialist medical practitioners.
The current Act also outlines cannabis must come under the Commonwealth’s licensing scheme or be imported under a permit issued by the Therapeutic Goods Association.
The Government is responsible for issuing licences and permits under this scheme.
Drug abuse is a serious issue in regional towns in particular, with illicit cannabis use potentially leading to addiction to other drugs.
When asked about potential abuse of the drug, Mr Piccolo said proper safeguards will be in place to ensure this does not occur.
Cannabis growers would also need to be controlled according to Mr Piccolo, although he does not have a specific strategy as to how.
Industrial hemp could also be a potential for the state, as the Government looks to create an industry purely for the growing of hemp fibres.
Hemp can be used to make clothing, building products and cosmetic products, which are already legal in SA, despite the growing of plants that produce these fibres being illegal.
The roundtable group will report back with updates in a month as the debate continues.