THE Fraser Coast IS the ideal place for a medicinal marijuana farm.
Jannean Dean thinks so. The long-term local and aspiring politician believes our climate and job shrinkages make the region ripe for the green rush industry.
Despite medicinal marijuana being legalised in Queensland, only three people in the state have asked for a prescription since 2015.
Producing the drug with permission is legal too – after the Federal Government changed laws last year – but an Australian manufacturer is yet to be established.
“We have a fabulous climate for it; it uses a fraction of water that cane sugar does,” Ms Dean said.
“It’s produce that we would be distributing Australia-wide potentially, and even overseas.”
Ms Dean has campaigned for the medical type of marijuana, currently produced in labs, to be grown here since 2014. She says she is driven by seeing chronically ill patients suffering in pain.
Fraser Coast Mayor Chris Loft said the idea of growing industrial hemp had been brought to his attention before, once by a developer from China.
He is interested in hearing from the public on whether they would like to see a hemp farm here.
“If someone approached me with the concept, I’d say let’s talk further,” Cr Loft said.
“All we need is some water. And hemp can also be used for building materials, and clothing.
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Currently it takes about four months for a patient to receive a dose because it has to be imported from Canada or the Netherlands, due to delays in establishing a local manufacturer.
Queensland Health chief health officer Jeannette Young believes the long wait is the reason more Australians haven’t applied for access.
“There has been a lot of interest, but not many applications,” Dr Young said.
“We’ve only had the three individual patients apply for access through their doctors, and they were all approved.
“But there are other people in the state using, for example there is a trial at Lady Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital.”
Sunshine Coast company, Medifarm, has been given approval by the Federal Government to grow the product.
Dr Young expects that once a local Fraser Coast Cannabis producer is creating product there will be more people asking for a prescription.
“Hopefully in the next one-two years, companies will be able to produce locally manufactured product,” she said.
“The Commonwealth has allowed for bulk importation of the product which will start soon, and also speed up access to the product.”
A health professional of more than 30 years, Dr Young isn’t surprised the drug is now an accepted treatment.
“A lot of therapeutic drugs comes from plants, like morphine from poppies,” she said.