Pubdate: Thu, 12 May 2016
Source: Sunshine Coast Daily (Australia)
Copyright: 2016 APN News & Media Ltd
Author: Kathy Sundstrom


Adam Benjamin Says Medical Cannabis Could Be a Huge Export Crop for 
the Sunshine Coast and Today He Meet With Queenland Treasurer Curtis 
Pitt to Discuss His Plans to Start Farming It:

ADAM Benjamin's goal of turning the Sunshine Coast into a world 
leading supplier of medicinal cannabis is a step closer with a bill 
tabled in the Queensland Parliament.

And today, Mr Benjamin has a meeting with Queensland Treasurer Curtis 
Pitt to discuss his company Medifarm's business model.

The new bill, announced by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, will 
establish the framework for the prescription, dispensing and 
administration of the drug.

Mr Benjamin said the timing of the Bill and the meeting with Mr Pitt 
was "better than perfect".

He was confident medical cannabis would be a "huge industry with many 
job and export opportunities".

"There is the projection for a big tax revenue," he said.

"When we can start to export it, it will really open it up, it will 
be a hundred million dollar industry."

But medical practitioners, such as respected GP Wayne Herdy, remain 
concerned about the potential abuse of the drug.

"I am not confident, except in the case of epilepsy in children, it 
has anything to offer over conventional benefits," Dr Herdy said.

A large part of his medical practice involved treating addictions and 
he said he had seen the dangerous side-effects of abuse.

"I'm not in favour of it. There can be serious long-term problems, 
including genetic damage," he said.

"It is also often an entry drug into more serious drugs.

"Among narcotic addicts I've treated on heroin for 20 years, they 
very often say the first drug that altered their mind was cannabis."

Mr Benjamin said he wanted to create a medical cannabis "hub" on the 
Sunshine Coast.

This would include farmlands to produce the product as well as 
industry suppliers and headquarters based in the region.

Already he has the support of American company, Tilray, which is "one 
of the largest and most sophisticated producers of premium medical 
cannabis in the world".

"We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Tilray," Mr Benjamin said.

The potential for jobs and profits was "enormous" as Mr Benjamin 
believed it could be exported from the Sunshine Coast all over the world.

"We have set out to create a leading industry hub for a cluster of 
businesses that specialise in the medical cannabis sector," Mr Benjamin said.

He was looking to base the hub at the "hospital health precinct at Kawana".

The University of the Sunshine Coast has partnered with Medifarm for 
research benefits.

"We have a letter of engagement with USC which means we will have 
research positions and clinical trials as well as other leading 
international companies in this hub."

Medifarm already owns farmland in the Nambour region which would be 
perfect to start growing the product.

"The next phase is setting up the facility," he said.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom