Company secures first cannabis licence as government acts on special access

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The Office of Drug Control has issued the first licence under Australia's new medicinal cannabis regulatory system as health minister Greg Hunt acts to accelerate access from overseas suppliers.

The new research licence allows Cann Group to legally cultivate medicinal cannabis and conduct research on the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

The company has also submitted an application to the Office of Drug Control (ODC) for a cultivation licence and says it is confident of securing this in the near future.

Cann Group is an unlisted public agribusiness company, focused on breeding, cultivating and manufacturing medicinal cannabis for sale and use within Australia. 

The company’s research and development facilities have, to date, operated under an ‘Authority for Low–THC Cannabis’ issued by the Victorian government, authorising cultivation of low-THC cannabis for research and non-therapeutic purposes. The research program has focused on evaluating optimal conditions, processes and equipment for cultivating cannabis. 

Cann Group Chairman Mr Allan McCallum said receiving the first research licence issued validates the significant investment made by the company in establishing facilities and protocols that meet the strict criteria required for a licence approval.

“This is an important milestone in the medicinal cannabis sector in Australia, but also for Cann Group and the development of our business plan,” said Mr McCallum. 

“The licence allows us to apply for a permit to progress our research and development programs, which are particularly focused on the breeding, cultivation, extraction and characterisation of cannabinoids. It will also mean we can further discussions we have underway with a number of leading Australian research and technology organisations to access additional expertise and resources. 

“We are putting in place the building blocks to ensure we have industry-leading research, cultivation and manufacturing capabilities. This will position us to eventually provide Australians with access to innovative and high quality medicinal cannabis treatments.”

The Cann Group said its objective is to be recognised as the leading developer and supplier of regulated medicinal cannabis in Australia.

Minister Hunt also announced yesterday government will authorise controlled importation of medicinal cannabis by approved providers from approved international sources. The arrangement is on an interim basis pending the development of domestic production to meet Australian demand.

He said there was already one international provider that has indicated strong interest in making an application.