Plans to open Scotland’s first legal cannabis farm have been announced.

Australian firm LeafCann has opened a discussion with North Ayrshire Council about opening a potential farm in Irvine.

A spokesperson for North Ayrshire Council offered a coy statement about the potential of hosting Scotland’s first legal cannabis farm

“We are aware of interest from LeafCann and we’ve had initial discussions with them.

“There is nothing imminent or close to being agreed.”

Monica Lennon, Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman, was more welcoming of the news of the cannabis farm talks:

“Urgent action is needed to make sure people who would benefit from medicinal cannabis prescriptions for painful and life-limiting conditions get them.

“It’s encouraging to hear that talks are under way that could lead to the improved availability of medicinal cannabis within Scotland’s NHS.”

Even the Scottish Conservatives are supporting the plan, so long as it has the support of locals, with Miles Briggs saying:

“So long as it is strictly controlled then there should be no issue with it being grown.

“However, any potential site must be agreed with the local community to make sure the views of local residents are taken into account.”

“Urgent action is needed to make sure people who would benefit from medicinal cannabis prescriptions for painful and life-limiting conditions get them.”
 – Monica Lennon, Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman

There has been a huge surge in support for medical cannabis since it was legalised in the UK last November. Moves have been made by a number of national and international companies to be the first to take advantage of the rapidly emerging UK cannabis industry.

Sativa Investments, based in London, was granted a license in January for a legal cannabis farm in Wiltshire. The farm will produce up to 8 tons of cannabis each year for the purpose of manufacturing medical cannabis products.

It has been estimated that the facility could earn the firm around £32m per harvest.

Meanwhile, possession of cannabis remains a criminal offence for regular citizens. Those of us who are not privileged enough to have enough wealth to start a multinational cannabis company could be subject to 14 years in prison for doing exactly what these companies are doing legally: selling cannabis.

There are obvious arguments to be made in favour of regulation: regulations help protect consumers from unsavoury business practices, such as neglecting to properly flush out chemicals used in the growing process, or using dangerous chemicals in the process of manufacturing cannabis oil.

However, patients have been safely making their own medicine from cannabis for decades in the UK.

The choice to either purchase pre-made medical cannabis products, such as Epidolex, or to make your own medicine at home is integral to a healthcare system which puts the patient first.

Prescriptions for medical cannabis are extortionate, costing £10,000s per year. Allowing patients to grow their own cannabis, or have a care-giver grow for them, would save these vulnerable members of society a lot of hassle and pain.

There are clear risks to making your own medical cannabis, but if a patient weighs up their options and decides home growing is the best option for them, who are the Government to tell them no? Worse still, what sense does it make to criminalise a patient simply for taking their healthcare into their own hands?

No victim, no crime.