This Australian medicinal cannabis company plans to grow marijuana on Christmas Island

Photo: Uriel Sinai/ Getty.

AusCann Group, a Perth-based medical cannabis business will grow a marijuana crop on Christmas Island, off the north-east coast of Western Australia, with plans to sow the first seeds as soon as January 2016.

The crop follows the company’s $3 million capital raising, and comes ahead of its planned listing on the ASX early next year.

The trial planting will include five varieties of cannabinoids sourced from leading Spanish company Phytoplant Research with which it has an exclusive partnership.

Elaine Darby, AusCann managing director, says if the test is successful, and federal legislation is changed, the first commercial crops will be planted in late 2016.

“We have carefully selected Christmas Island for its isolation, climate and security,” she said in a statement.

“In particular, we note that the amount of available daylight hours is critical to triggering cannabis plant flowering. Christmas Island experiences minimal changes to its daylight hours, so it is feasible that we could produce two crops each year.”

Since its launch in 2014, Auscann has been working towards producing and supplying the global industry and local markets, when legislation permits in Australia.

The medical cannabis industry is getting down to business as the Australian government and numerous states back plans to let seriously ill patients use marijuana as a treatment. Read more on that here.

Last week, the Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, announced a nationally-consistent licensing scheme to regulate the controlled cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

She said this would remove the need for states and territories to implement legislation to set up individual cultivation schemes and ensure laws were consistent across the country for growers.

In October, NSW Premier Mike Baird announced a memorandum of understanding with UK-based GW Pharmaceuticals that will see the state host a world-first trial in children to treat epileptic seizures using medicinal cannabis.