Australia grants first cannabis farm licence

March 8, 2017

Australia's first medical marijuana farm received its growers' licence Wednesday, opening up domestic production of the drug for people seeking relief from serious illnesses.

The Cann Group, who last month received a research license, was awarded the cultivation permit after a "rigorous on-site security assessment".

"This major development will lead to improved access to domestically produced medicinal cannabis products for Australian patients," said Health Minister Greg Hunt.

"We are now making it easier to access medicinal cannabis products more rapidly, while still maintaining strict safeguards for individual and community safety," he added, with more licences expected soon.

While recreational use of cannabis remains illegal in Australia, federal laws were changed 12 months ago to allow its use for medical purposes, in a move broadly supported.

Currently the government imports medicinal marijuana from international suppliers, with Wednesday's announcement the beginning of a domestic supply line.

Research, including findings published in 2015 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed has some effectiveness in helping treat chronic pain.

But there are concerns about side effects and the issue of whether or not it works remains a matter of debate globally.

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