Medical cannabis will eventually be legalised in Australia and opposition is based on “faith, not logic”, the chairman of a business granted permission to grow crops on Norfolk Island has said.
Former West Australian Liberal MP Mal Washer, who is a GP and chairman of a Perth-based company which has just been granted permission to grow medical marijuana on Norfolk Island for export to Canada, said the growing operation would be closely monitored.
The company had previously sought permission to grow cannabis in Tasmania but encountered too much opposition.
“Norfolk Island has a fairly autonomous government so they were fairly receptive because they have economic problems and they need employment opportunities for the people there,” Dr Washer told 720 ABC Perth.
The Australian Federal Government will soon take governing control over Norfolk Island and the growing plans will have to be approved by the incoming island administrator.
Dr Washer said if the plans went ahead, the company would plant crops in November and hoped to harvest two tonnes of the product next year.
“Canada will take all that we can produce at the moment; the market is really open there,” Dr Washer said.
“There are a lot of illnesses that have benefited terrifically from medical cannabis – post-traumatic stress syndrome, terminal illness and the pain, anxiety and nausea associated with that, muscle spasm in multiple sclerosis.
“There have been at least 60 trials done, globally, proving the benefits of cannabis in certain illnesses.”
Several trials of medical cannabis are now underway in Australia, and Dr Washer believes it is only a question of “when, not if Australia legalises it”.
“Twenty countries and 23 US states have now legalised it.
“I’m sure that will happen in Australia, it’s just a matter of time.”
Dr Washer said the cannabis growing operation on Norfolk Island would be monitored by both Canadian and Australian government authorities.
The Canadian medical marijuana model, which has been in place for 10 years, is “well policed and probably the best model in the world for handling medical cannabis”, he said.