Australian drug regulators have granted what is believed to be the first licence to grow medical cannabis in Western Australia.
AusCann, whose chairman is former WA Federal Liberal MP Mal Washer, will announce today that it has approval for a secure outdoor cultivation facility in WA, and hopes to have its first locally grown product ready next year.
The licence was granted by the Office of Drug Control and makes AusCann one of only a few companies to be given approval in Australia. Until its cultivation facility is operating in WA, the company will import medical cannabis from Chile in partnership with Canopy Growth Corporation, one of Canada’s biggest medicinal cannabis companies.
AusCann managing director Elaine Darby said it was a major milestone in the company’s bid to be a leading supplier of high quality and affordable medicinal cannabis for Australian patients.
She said there would be a major focus on educating doctors about the potential uses of the product.
The company was bringing Canadian medical cannabis expert Danial Schecter to Perth this month to give an educational talk at the University of WA Club.
“We’re not saying it is suitable for all patients but there is good evidence about the use of cannabinoid medicines for indications such as chronic pain,” Ms Darby said.
“There are a considerable number of people who could benefit from a treatment where the side effects are quite low.”
Australian Medical Association WA president Andrew Miller said he was sceptical about the demand because he believed only a small number of patients could benefit from medicinal cannabis.
“People have to understand that it’s not cannabis, it doesn’t have the THC that gives people a high,” Dr Miller said.
“We’re not prudes, we’re just scientists.”