Around 70 members of parliament, government representatives, patient advocacy groups and industry participants gathered for the launch of the medicinal cannabis industry’s peak industry body – Medicinal Cannabis Industry Australia (MCIA).
MCIA represents the medicinal cannabis industry licensees and has been formed to foster a sustainable industry that delivers health and economic benefits for Australians.
Formally launching MCIA, the Health Minister Hon Greg Hunt spoke about the Government’s role in establishing the regulatory framework to enable a legal medicinal cannabis industry in Australia. “There are very few things you do where you look at and say “wow” we had imagined that into being and it has come to pass in a way that has exceeded every expectation we had. So you are the ones that are doing it, our job …the Parliament’s job is to make the opportunities available”. The Minister welcomed the formation of MCIA and said that he and the Government looked forward to working with the industry, “I think this is an immensely important development’, he said.
The Hon Joel Fitzgibbon, Shadow Agriculture Minister spoke about the potential for med tech and agtech industries as key components of the medicinal cannabis industry as “…one which will be enormous economic benefits to our economy if we are smart about it and…an environmentally friendly crop as well”, and Green’s Leader Richard Di Natale spoke about the potential for medicinal cannabis to provide relief to patients from across the community, “we want to see people being given access to a drug that we know is effective, that we know has a great potential to reduce pain and suffering and to do it in a way that doesn’t set a bar higher than we set for a range of other drugs…”, he said.
Dr Andrew Laming MP, along with Dr Mike Freelander MP and Richard Di Natale, announced their intent to sponsor a Parliamentary Friends of Medicinal Cannabis Group. Dr Freelander said, “I really am very passionate about this, am very grateful for the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Australia being formed. I think this will be an impetus for all of us in Parliament…as there is not a parliamentarian that I can think of who doesn’t want the best for their constituents and certainly as doctors we have the duty to do the best we can for our patients…”
MCIA brings together Australia’s medicinal cannabis licensees in a national advocacy body to be a strong voice for this important and growing the sector which is committed to producing the highest quality medicinal cannabis products for patients.
MCIA Chair Peter Crock, CEO of Cann Group Limited, said it was important that those engaged in the new sector worked together to build a professional and well respected association to represent the best of Australian industry. MCIA members are committed to ensuring medicinal cannabis products meet the highest standards and that patients in Australia and internationally benefit from research and product development.
Lucy Haslam from United in Compassion noted the growing and unmet demand for medicinal cannabis in Australia and urged the Government and industry expedite patient access to a sustainable supply of legal and affordable medicinal cannabis products.
MCIA will work with its members to ensure that the industry conducts itself in a transparent, responsible and professional manner across all activities including research, cultivation, manufacturing and education. An industry that is built on sound science and underpinned by best practice standards will help ensure that patients, medical professionals, governments and the community have confidence in it and its products.