A leading government scientist has called for Medicinal Cannabis Industry Australia (MCIA) to draw up a cultivation research strategy to address the challenges facing the sector.

Dr Philip Wright, chief scientist at the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), said the industry body should take a prominent research role and exploit the ‘unique strengths’ offered by Australia’s background in plant sciences.

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The Department of Primary Industries is conducting its own research into cannabis cultivation techniques

Addressing the MCIA ACannabis EVOLVE conference, Dr Wright advised the industry to not only learn from the growing body of international research, but to leverage internal expertise.  

“The mark of a maturing industry is having its own coherent research strategy which is making sure the industry is able to articulate its research needs,” he said.

“My observations would be that we should be building off a deep science base we have in Australia in plant sciences.

“One of the key things for an organisation like MCIA is that not only is it important for there to be an industry voice, rather than individual company voices, talking to government regulators… but there is also a strong need for a coherent research strategy that is industry led, industry driven

“I guess I am hinting – or maybe even suggesting – that MCIA perhaps could consider… an overarching strategy for cultivation research in Australia.”

The industry should explore the “uniquely Australian challenges” and what research can be carried out to address them, Dr Wright said, stressing that Australia has “enormous strengths in plant sciences”.

Steve has reported for a number of consumer and B2B titles over a journalism career spanning more than three decades. He is a regulator contributor to health journal, The Medical Republic, writing on...