SOUTH Australia now has a regulated opium poppy industry following the introduction of a regulatory framework which came into effect last Friday, September 16.
The SA Government has proclaimed the Controlled Substances (Poppy Cultivation) Amendment Bill 2015 and the making of the Controlled Substances (Poppy Cultivation) Regulations 2016.
The regulatory framework allows for the lawful growing and processing of opium poppies to occur in the state and complies with Australia’s international obligations under the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 to control the growing of opium plants and ensure effective controls are in place to protect the community and industry.
Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) is in the process of finalising and implementing the ongoing management and administrative arrangements for the South Australian Poppy Cultivation Scheme in time for the 2017 growing season.
A formal licence application for famers to cultivate opium poppies will be available in the coming months.
To become a registered poppy producer, potential growers will need to meet certain conditions in order to obtain a licence to grow the crop.
These conditions include having a contract with a licensed poppy processor and undertaking checks with SA Police.
It will still be illegal to take, use, sell, grow, process, or transport poppies without a licence from the State Government.
Illegal possession of poppy plant parts or substances derived from poppies is a criminal offence and attracts heavy penalties.
Opiate-based medications are used for a wide range of conditions, including pain relief, palliative care and anti-addiction medications.
Australia is an international leader in the manufacture and export of opiate raw material, currently producing around half the world’s raw opiate supply for pharmaceutical manufacture and research.
Tasmania was the first state to grow poppies for medical purposes in 1966, holding a long running monopoly until it was joined by Victoria and the Northern Territory in 2014. NSW legalised the production of alkaloid poppies last month.
Further information: www.pir.sa.gov.au/poppycultivation