Medical marijuana to be grown on Christmas Island

An Australian company will grow medicinal cannabis on Christmas Island.

Dec 09, 2015, updated Dec 09, 2015

AusCann will begin planting trial crops of marijuana on the detention centre island ahead of its planned listing on the Australian Securities Exchange in early 2016.

Cannabis remains an illegal substance in Australia, but the federal government has flagged introducing a bill next year to legalise growing the plants for their medicinal uses.

Auscann said that it was in the final stages of planning the trial planting which will include five varieties of cannabinoids sourced from leading Spanish company Phytoplant Research with which it has an exclusive partnership

If the trial is successful, and federal laws are changed, Auscann will begin planting the first commercial crop for the domestic market in late 2016, managing director Dr Elaine Darby said.

“We have carefully selected Christmas Island for its isolation, climate and security,” she said in a statement.

“In particular, we note that the amount of available daylight hours is critical to triggering cannabis plant flowering.

Christmas Island experiences minimal changes to its daylight hours, so it is feasible that we could produce two crops each year.”

Darby said the company had also already begun to reach out to the 2000 locals on Christmas Island and was expecting their full support.

“If our commercial plans proceed as expected, we will create local employment and provide a vital boost to the local economy,” she said.

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Auscann was established in 2014 and aims to produce homegrown medicinal cannabis for export to other countries and for the domestic market once proposed legislation passes.

Last week, federal Health Minister Sussan Ley said the government would introduce a national scheme for the controlled cultivation of medicinal cannabis into parliament next year.

NSW is also expected to run the country’s first trial of cannabis-based drugs treatment for children with epilepsy next year.

Christmas Island is located 2,600 kilometres northwest of Perth and also houses one of Australia’s largest detention centres for asylum seekers.

Auscann’s plans for the island and its upcoming ASX listing come after it successfully tapped investors for $3 million.


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