Australia—Authorities in Australia are cracking down on security for medical cannabis farmers across the country. Fingerprint scanners, motion sensors, and security teams are just part of the increasingly stringent measures aimed at securing the industry at all stages of the production process.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia, are the regulators for the medical cannabis industry there. They have given the green light to 12 businesses in Australia to grow or produce medical cannabis. The Department of Health has received more than 75 applications to produce medical cannabis in Australia since the practice was legalized in October 2016.
Security is the number-one priority say TGA officials, and their primary goal is to prevent the legally grown plants from finding their way into the black market. One approach is to keep farm locations secret so that, for instance, major grower Medifarm’s location is unknown to all but the most closely involved personnel. Medical cannabis producers also have to prove that the vehicles they use to transport the product are safe from hijackers.
Security requirements include measures that can cost up to half a million dollars. However, Greg Hunt, the Australian Federal Health Minister, staunchly defends the draconian tactics, saying, “This is a product that medical authorities deem to be the strictest category product and it is at risk of unsafe use or criminal diversion.” Farmers who are able to afford the expensive security measures say that they understand the need for such strict procedures. Pure medical cannabis oil costs about $30,000 per kilogram, making it a valuable commodity in the same league as gold and even platinum.
At the same time, the country is aiming to become a leading exporter of medical cannabis. Says Hunt, “I would like to see [the industry] expand from domestic growth and consumption, on a very safe regulated basis, for the potential to be an export crop.”
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