An Australian medical cannabis grower has been in “full panic Mode” after a state-ordered order to close a medical cannabis facility in Melbourne caused a “significant disruption” of operations.
Key points:A medical cannabis dispensary was seized in Victoria in December after a police raidThe cannabis company had just received a “very serious warning”The facility was later shut downThe state of Victoria ordered the closure of a medical marijuana facility in the city of Melbourne after police raided the premises in December, seizing cannabis, equipment and a cannabis cultivation system.
“It was an incredibly scary time,” said Andrew Stiles, a lawyer and a member of the local medical cannabis industry group.
“They had no way of knowing what was going on and they were told that the state had a criminal investigation into it.”
This was just a very, very significant disruption of operations, the loss of a significant amount of time and effort that the business had to invest in.
“That’s when they decided to take this action and it was very, much the right thing to do.”
Stiles said the state’s Attorney-General’s Office informed him of the seizure and warned that “it is illegal under Victorian law to conduct medical cannabis operations”.
“The government is fully committed to the health of our community and to making sure that we have a safe and legal medical cannabis supply for our patients,” a spokesperson for the Attorney-Generals Office said in a statement.
“The Attorney-Geners Office has taken swift action to ensure that the Victorian Government has the power to control this illicit business.”
The Victorian Health Department confirmed that the cannabis company, Australian Organics, had been “terminated” after the order was made on December 22, after the company had received “a very serious warning”.
The Victoria Police Force raided the medical cannabis company’s premises, seizing equipment, cannabis cultivation equipment and the cannabis cultivation facility, according to the department.
It was not immediately clear how many staff were employed at the cannabis business.
“We are aware that a large amount of equipment has been seized in relation to the operation,” a statement from Victoria Police said.
“Our inquiries are ongoing and we will be making further comment when we have more information.”
The company had recently been awarded a $20,000 grant by the state to help it cover the costs of running the business.
But the state Department of Health said that the department was not in a position to comment on the “legal implications” of the business being closed, despite the Department’s “full-throated support” for the operation.
“As we understand it, the medical marijuana grower was the sole tenant in the premises,” a department spokesperson said.”[The Department] will provide more information on this matter when it is available.”‘
Anxiety and confusion’A statement from the Australian Organists Association (AOA) said that “anxiety and uncertainty” had been created in the business community following the “illegal and unethical actions” of Victoria Police.
“When the state government shut down the medical facility in December 2016, we immediately began to work with the Victorian Police and Government to ensure the health and safety of our staff,” the AOA said in its statement.
The AOA, which is based in Melbourne, has a branch in the US and has been involved in several cannabis cultivation projects in the state.
The organization has been active in the cannabis industry for more than 10 years and was “proud to have been the first in the country to successfully grow and distribute medical cannabis products for patients in Australia”.
“While we understand that there are currently some legal challenges to the current situation, we remain hopeful that a negotiated solution can be found for the legitimate medical needs of our patients, who deserve the safest, most effective and efficient medical cannabis,” the statement continued.
“In the meantime, we have put together a list of resources for our members to access to continue our work in Victoria and beyond.”‘
This is the wrong decision’A spokesperson for Victoria’s Attorney General’s Office said the department had “not been involved with the cannabis grow business for some time” and had not made a decision about closing the business in Victoria.
“Victoria Police made a formal complaint in February 2016 about the operation of a dispensary and requested that the facility be closed, which was done,” a spokesman for the AG’s Office, Chris Bolton, told Al Jazeera.
“At the time of the closure, the operation was being conducted under the medical licence and the operations had been approved by Health Victoria.
This was in accordance with the law.”
Bolton added that the AG did not have “an opinion on whether or not the operation complied with the Health Act”.’
A very serious issue’The AOAs statement said that “[i]t is also unlawful to operate a business that has a criminal conviction record under the Commonwealth Act, and that it is illegal to operate any business that operates a medical supply facility under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA).””The