South Australia will create an Office of Medicinal Cannabis and Industrial Hemp in support of the industries, state government officials said, as developments move rapidly on the continent.
The office was announced along with an updated medical cannabis patient access scheme.
“The Office of Industrial Hemp and Medicinal Cannabis will help develop the medicinal cannabis and industrial hemp industry in South Australia and provide a single contact point for information and advice regarding these industries,” said Acting Premier Kyam Maher, the government’s Manufacturing and Innovation Minister.
“The opportunities for industry development of medicinal cannabis may also provide for high value jobs across the supply chain from research and development, growing, manufacture, and transport and logistics,” Maher added.
Greens MP Tammy Franks, a long-time medicinal cannabis supporter, called the new office “a welcome step forward. I believe that this is the best way to bulldoze through the current bureaucratic brick walls as people try to enter the medicinal cannabis industry in Australia,” she said.
Things are moving fast in Australia. A Greens-sponsored Industrial Hemp Bill passed earlier this month will provide for cultivation related to medical cannabis research.
And at the end of April, Australia and New Zealand opened their markets for hemp foods with the go-ahead from a bilateral Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation. The approval makes foods from the hemp seed legal for human consumption beginning this November.
In South Australia specifically, the new industrial hemp framework aims to combine industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis into one portfolio to create new opportunities for Australian companies across the food, fiber, and medical sectors.