Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has launched, in an Australian first, a 47 hectare farm for the purposes of growing medicinal cannabis at a location near Tamworth in northern New South Wales.
Called DanEden, the farm is named after Dan Haslam, who was a tireless campaigner for the legalisation of the treatment and lost his battle with cancer a year ago.
Mr Joyce was joined by the Haslam family and Hi-5 member Tim Harding, ABC reported.
Harding hopes that the treatment will help with his daughter’s epilepsy, which is unresponsive to conventional medicine and sees her suffering around 100 seizures per day.
While the Federal Government has passed legislation allowing medicinal cannabis, the framework for regulations is still being worked on. When everything is finalised, DanEden can begin production.
The Victorian parliament recently passed the Access to Medicinal Cannabis Bill 2015, with cultivation trail beginning in April. Treatments will be available to selected patients from early 2017.
To access medicinal cannabis Victorian patients will have to qualify as an “exceptional circumstance” approved by two specialists. This includes severe epileptic seizures, muscle spasms from multiple sclerosis, severe pain and nausea from cancer or HIV/AIDS or chronic pain.
Severe epilepsy in children will be among the first cases to be treated, with a range of vaporisers, sprays and oils utilised as opposed to a smokeable product.