At a secret location in Australia’s southeast, Peter Crook delicately tends to a two-month-old cannabis cutting.
Barely knee high, it is one of about 50 government-sanctioned “mother plants” to be cloned for future generations of crops for the country’s fledgling medicinal marijuana industry.
“I think we’ll see Australia punch above its weight, both in agriculture research as well as medical technology,” says Crook, the chief executive of Cann Group Limited, the firm granted Australia’s first commercial grower’s licence.
“As different conditions come online we are going to see the market grow rapidly.”
Following Canada, Israel, and more than half the U.S. states, who through varying approaches have legalized medicinal marijuana, Australia has signalled its intention for a homegrown industry.
But a patchwork of regulations that guard access for many desperate patients, and a lack of confidence among doctors in prescribing the drug, are acting as impediments.
While recreational marijuana use remains illegal in Australia laws passed