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First commercial cannabis crop to help Victorian children

EXCLUSIVE: Hundreds of children will access medicinal cannabis in Victoria from August as a Melbourne company is approved to grow the first commercial crop in Australia.

The Victorian Government delivered up to 160 plants to the Melbourne-based Cann Group, which hopes to harvest and manufacture medicinal oil for up to 450 severely ill children within months.

The Herald Sun understands the crops will be grown and tested at two top-secret facilities in Melbourne equipped with CCTV and state-of the-art security.

And the move will see Victoria’s current medicinal cannabis supply increase almost threefold.

Cann Group chief executive Peter Crock said the company was “accelerating access for all Australian patients’’.

Victorian agriculture minister Jaala Pulford hands over the first commercial cannabis crop to Cann Group CEO Peter Crock.

“It is exciting to us and we will be what is a brand new industry in Australia,’’ he said.

Mr Crock said supplying Victoria was the priority, but was confident to also provide a range of medicinal cannabis products to patients across the country.

Agriculture minister Jaala Pulford met with Cann Group last month to hand over four strains of medicinal cannabis plants.

“This week marks the birth of a brand new industry in Australia,’’ Ms Pulford said.

“While this is groundbreaking for our agricultural scientists, it’s life-changing for patients who need it most.”

Cooper Wallace is among the ill children in Victoria currently being treated. Picture: Mike Keating.

The transfer comes after the Melbourne-based company was issued a medicinal cannabis permit and two research permits from the federal Office of Drug Control, allowing them to supply a range of products.

The company will now work closely with the Office of Medicinal Cannabis in Victoria to ensure the cannabis oils are fit for patients.

Currently, only 29 children are being treated with the medical marvel in Victoria.

The Andrews Government spent almost $1 million importing product from Canada in March, for severely ill children to be treated for one year after federal laws were changed in Australia.

At the time, Premier Daniel Andrews said it was too important to wait for the locally-produced cannabis.

It is now hoped Victoria will become self-sufficient with supply.