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Medical cannabis business 'told to set up elsewhere'

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UPDATED: The State Government has denied a medical marijuana entrepreneur’s claims that Investment Attraction South Australia staff advised him to set up business in a different state.

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Australian Cannabis Corporation co-founder Ben Fitzsimons posted to Facebook yesterday complaining that the State Government had “told us twice to go do business interstate”.

But a State Government spokesperson told InDaily after the publication of this article that Investment Attraction South Australia has been “working with Australian Cannabis Corporation in our stat and at no time have told them they should look interstate”.

The Government threw its weight behind the development of a medical cannabis industry for South Australia earlier this year, saying it would assist licensed medicinal cannabis businesses operating in South Australia to lobby the Commonwealth Government for export permits.

But Fitzsimons told his social media followers yesterday: “We have been working on bringing a $300,000,000 plus industry to South Australia that will employ more people than GMH”.

“The state government has told us twice to go do business interstate,” the post reads.

“How is that for leadership? No wonder so many young people leave the state when our own government tells new industries that we are better off elsewhere!”

Fitzsimons told InDaily this morning that Investment Attraction South Australia (IASA) staff had advised him to set up outside SA.

“The rationale behind it was that it was going to be easier [interstate],” he said.

“The pathways are more defined than they are in South Australia.”

Fitzsimons said he was “disappointed” with the advice from Investment Attraction staff, but that he would continue to work towards establishing the business in SA.

The Government spokesperson said IASA staff had “provided a range of information to help the company understand the legislative and regulatory requirements in South Australia – in line with the recent Federal Government changes – and sourced information from other government agencies at the request of Australian Cannabis Corporation”.

“IASA has also been researching potential sites within our state that would meet the company’s requirements and took them on a site visit.”

Fitzsimons said the social media post was an “expression of frustration,” adding that he did not believe his comments would hinder negotiations with the State Government on the shape of regulations to accommodate the newly legalised industry.

“Right now, we’re working with the [SA] government to get a pathway that’s good for patients and good for the market place,” he said.

“We see the future of South Australia socially and economically [in a medical cannabis industry here].”

“This can change the state.”

Asked for the basis of his claim that a medical cannabis would be a $300 million industry for South Australia, Fitzsimons said “that’s our business model”, but would not clarify further.

 

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