Health Minister opens MEDIFARM – Australia’s first operational medical cannabis farm

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has opened Queensland’s first operational medical cannabis farm, paving the way for Australian patients to access prescriptions for Australian grown medical cannabis. 

Minister Hunt inspected the farm at MEDIFARM on the Sunshine Coast with Federal Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien, who welcomed the prospect of a new industry for the local region and Australia.

“The cannabis products produced from the plants at MEDIFARM will be used to help Australians with conditions like epilepsy, chronic pain, cancer pain and multiple sclerosis,” Mr O’Brien said.

Minister Hunt thanked MEDIFARM for giving him a tour of the operation, and seeing first-hand the result of the Government’s decision to legalise medicinal cannabis production and establishing the associated regulatory framework.

“Operations such as these showcase the Morrison Government’s commitment to boosting local industry and helping those living with chronic or terminal illnesses,” Minister Hunt said.

“We want a robust Australian medical cannabis industry so doctors have safe, quality locally grown and manufactured products they can confidently prescribe to their patients.” 

MEDIFARM founding director Adam Benjamin echoed the sentiments of Minister Hunt and Mr O’Brien, saying the company’s number one focus was ensuring Australian patients have the best access to legal cannabis-based medicines. 

"We have a duty of care, we must deliver this to patients in need," Mr Benjamin said.

Authorised by Greg Hunt MP, Liberal Party of Australia, Somerville, Victoria.

"These plants are now under cultivation and being readied to produce cannabis medicine by prescription, by Aussie doctors for Aussie patients."

Medical cannabis will also be able to be exported to overseas countries following changes made by the Morrison Government.

The Morrison Government continues to make it easier for doctors to access medicinal cannabis products more rapidly, while maintaining strict safeguards for individual and community safety.

Doctors can apply under the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s Special Access Scheme Category B or via an Authorised Prescriber (AP) Scheme to legally prescribe medicinal cannabis products.

The Special Access Scheme (SAS) online system allows prescribers in Queensland to submit their applications on behalf of patients in a single online application, which are processed within 2 working days.

As of 31 July 2019, over 11,000 approvals now been given under SAS in Australia for medicinal cannabis products. Over 8,500 patients have been authorised to access a medicinal cannabis product through the Special Access and Authorised Prescriber Schemes. Approximately one-third of these approvals have been granted in Queensland.

The Morrison Government’s strong economic management ensures the continued investment of record funding into vital health initiatives including medical research, mental health, life-saving medicines, Medicare and hospitals.