Does technology like the fingerprint scanner, hi-tech security teams, motion sensor alarm system, and secret location sound straight out from a James Bond movie? Well, in Australia it’s more reflective of the Australian farms. But, this is the harsh reality for farmers who are growing cannabis. Currently, spring is in action and Australians are taking benefit of the season by a beginning plantation of the marijuana plant – the ideal growing season is between September and April. Farmers who grow the precious drug have to undergo stringent verification and questioning before getting the license to grow the plant in their field officially. Also, they have to prove that their crop will not fall in the hands of notorious people out there. In short, the cultivation, manufacturing, and production of the cannabis and cannabis-related product are licensed by the Office of Drug Control (ODC).
How much marijuana does Australia grow?
With the legalization of the drug in 2016, Australian passed a landmark judgment for the benefits of the citizens. And, since then there is no looking back because the demand for marijuana has increased and will increase in the coming years as people come to know about the benefits of the drug which is as precious as gold. As of July 2017, only 12 businesses were licensed to grow or manufacture cannabis for medicinal purposes. According to different estimates, if Australia grows 5 to 10 tonnes of the drug, it can satisfy the medical requirement of the patients. And, to produce this much of cannabis, the country requires 10 acres of cultivable land. According to a report by BDS Analytics, the Australian medical cannabis market is likely to reach $1.2 billion by 2027.
Growing marijuana in Australia
What type of cannabis does Australia grow?
The legalization of medicinal cannabis has been welcomed with open hands by the citizen because it provides relief of the terminally ill patients. Currently, the government has given the nod only for growing, cultivation and production of medical cannabis. Also, medical cannabis can either be synthetic (human-made) or an extract from the sativa plant. Australians grow two types of medicinal cannabis.
- Pharmaceutical marijuana products approved by the approved by the TGA (Therapeutic Goods and Administration). It includes natural cannabis-like Nabiximols or synthetic one like Dronabinol.
- Standardized herbal cannabis or plant products
In what states is cannabis grown most often?
Victoria was the first state in the country to legalize the use of medicinal marijuana for the patients and other states soon followed. According to the state government Queensland has ideal conditions for the growth of commercial cannabis industry. As of 2016, more than 64 hectares of the crop was under cultivation. Another Australian state, Tasmania, which is licensed to grow poppies was worth more than $290 million in 2016 with 23,000 hectares of crop grown by the farmers in the state. In the coming years, Richmond Valley is likely to produce 100,000 kg of marijuana every year with an estimate of $800 million to $1.1 billion. In the coming years, as other states legalize the drug, more and more land will be used for growing the crop.
What are the penalties for being caught growing Cannabis?
Because cannabis is harmful, it’s against the law to cultivate or grow marijuana without the approval of the government. And, if one is found cultivating cannabis without a proper license, they’re likely to witness punishments based upon the quantity of marijuana cultivated. Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981, it is an offense to cultivate or grow the plant with intent to supply or sell. Those found guilty carries a maximum penalty of $20,000 fine or imprisonment up to 10 years. There are more laws which provide a mandatory sentencing regime in cases which affect children.
Penalties for Growing Cannabis in Australia
Cultivating that endangers a child
If an adult in Australia is found cultivating marijuana in a way it endangers life, safety or health of a child, then that person is punished as per the following:
- For the first offense, the person is sentenced to imprisonment which may be suspended imprisonment or conditional suspended imprisonment.
- For any subsequent offenses, the person is sentenced to 6 months of imprisonment which is not suspended.
Cultivating causing harm
In scenarios wherein, an adult grows the plant, and it bodily hampers the child under the age of 16, then that person is sentenced to imprisonment for at least 12 months which is also not suspended.