Australian firm AusCann strikes landmark deal with island’s government, with expectations cannabis will become a multimillion dollar export industry by 2016
Norfolk Island has been deemed an ideal place to grow cannabis due to its climate and geographical security. Photograph: Brennan Linsley/AP
Staff and agencies
An Australian company is about to start growing and exporting medicinal cannabis from the self-governing Australian territory of Norfolk Island.
AusCann Group Holdings has struck a landmark deal with the Norfolk Island government to grow a high-grade medicinal strain of cannabis from November. It intends to export its entire first crop to Canada by the middle of next year.
An initial one tonne of cannabis will be grown from a protected two-hectare site with production forecast to increase to 10 tonnes by 2018.
It will supply the sativa and sativa-dominant strains, which are unsuitable for growing in Canada’s indoor facilities.
“This Australian-first project has the full support of the Norfolk Island community and is expected to generate much-needed revenues via an export fee and employment,” the managing director of AusCann, Elaine Darby, said on Wednesday.
Norfolk Island loses its parliament as Canberra takes control
The deal comes barely a week after the Australian government passed legislation, which had bipartisan support, to abolish Norfolk’s Island parliament and replace it with a local council.
It means as of the end of June, Norfolk Island will no longer be a self-governing territory, it’s government will be abolished, and islanders will be brought under Australia’s taxation and welfare system during a transition period of about one year.
Norfolk Island was deemed an ideal venue for cannabis production because of its climate and geographical security.
At least eight full-time jobs will be created initially, with more likely during the harvest and processing periods.
“This is a win for our company, for the Norfolk Island community and further creates a new Australian export industry with substantial growth potential,” Darby said.
“We can feasibly expect this will become a multimillion dollar export industry by 2016.”
Norfolk Island’s health minister, Robin Adams, said it was a valuable economic opportunity for the territory.
“We are working with AusCann to ensure strict growing and security requirements are in place,” the minister said.