Pop-up 'medical cannabis information centre' to open in Canberra, Med Shed group claims
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Pop-up 'medical cannabis information centre' to open in Canberra, Med Shed group claims

Canberrans will be able to visit a 'medical cannabis information centre' in September as an advocacy group steps up its push to open a dispensary in the ACT where marijuana is sold from a shopfront, the group claims.

The Med Shed is made up of 80 medical cannabis advocates who have been working to establish a shopfront in Canberra since it formed in May.

Medicinal cannabis may soon be legalised in Australia.

Medicinal cannabis may soon be legalised in Australia.Credit:Max Mason Hubers

Group co-ordinator Matthew Holmes said he was pleased by the ACT government's recent decision to establish a medical cannabis scheme "as soon as practicable" which would allow Canberrans to safely and legally access medical cannabis products.

"We believe we have helped put a responsible and professional face to medical cannabis and will be having an event called Floral Aid in September where we will be campaigning publicly," he said.

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"We will be going out on the street and will be setting up a pop-up information centre which we are hoping will transfer to a permanent office and a model cannabis dispensary. We won't be selling products but we will be looking at showing the public how it will work."

Mr Holmes could not yet reveal the location but said it will be "in a very public place".

The Med Shed includes a number of pain, nausea and seizure sufferers who seek medical cannabis illegally to seek relief.

Mr Holmes welcomed assistant health minister Meegan Fitzharris' promise that the government's scheme would be set up in a way that was evidence-based and supported vulnerable people, but said it needed to include a framework for supply.

The government's scheme would support their prescription, use and distribution of medical cannabis products but unlikely production.

"The government's policy at the moment that no one will be able to produce products in Canberra, however we believe that we can set up the security and the back end to provide that," Mr Holmes said.

"If we don't have a supply model hand-in-hand with a distribution model and user model there is going to be high crisis, there is going to be low quality, there is going to be standardisation of products."

He also called on the government to ensure the scheme goes beyond pharmaceutical products.

"We support that approach but there are issues with timeliness and accessibility and that is not the only thing the community needs," he said.

"Because we aren't talking about one group of sick people, we are talking about groups of sick people who also need whole-plant products."

The ACT expects the medical cannabis scheme to be in place by next year, with the territory following in the footsteps of Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

Clare Sibthorpe is a reporter for The Canberra Times

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