'Vindicated by cancellation'

Michael Ferguson.
Michael Ferguson.

HEALTH Minister Michael Ferguson says the state government has been vindicated by the cancellation of a licence to grow medicinal cannabis on Norfolk Island.

Tasman Health Cannabinoids earlier this month received approval from Norfolk Island to run a medicinal cannabis trial, after it was denied by the Tasmanian government.

Included in the proposal was a request to grow a commercial crop for export to Canada, where the drug is legal for medical purposes only.

But on Thursday the island's administrator, Gary Hardgrave, announced he had cancelled the licence issued to Tascann, citing potential social, economic and environmental impacts.

Mr Ferguson said the decision showed the importance of a prudent approach.

"We've got to ensure that when medications come onto the legal drug market in Australia, that we're confident they're safe and effective and there is a process for that," Mr Ferguson said.

Opposition justice spokeswoman Lara Giddings said the state government had learnt nothing from the public backlash against its opposition to the trial.

"There was hope that the government was preparing to soften its stance against medicinal cannabis but that has proven to be ill-founded," Ms Giddings said.

Greens health spokeswoman Cassy O'Connor said the Liberals were "woefully out of step with community expectations".

"The Norfolk Island government recognised the compassionate imperative and the economic potential of medicinal cannabis and they are clearly determined to still push ahead to secure these trials despite the Commonwealth's intervention," Ms O'Connor said.

"Tasmania should follow suit."

Tascann chief executive Troy Langman said he was disappointed but "still pressing on".

"Medical cannabis has been reintroduced around the world for many, many years now and it's just a matter of time before it's reintroduced in Australia," Mr Langman said.


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