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Christmas Island Will Ring In The New Year With Cannabis

The most festive sounding island in the Indian Ocean is on the verge of becoming a growing operation for Australia's budding medicinal cannabis market.

Perth-based AusCann Group is investing in the Australian territory, which it thinks is an ideal location for cannabis cultivation.

"We have carefully selected Christmas Island for its isolation, climate and security," AusCann Managing Director Elaine Darby said in a statement. "In particular, we note that the amount of available daylight hours is critical to triggering cannabis plant flowering. Christmas Island experiences minimal changes to its daylight hours, so it is feasible that we could produce two crops each year."

Both medicinal and recreational cannabis use is currently illegal in Australia. But Health Minister Sussan Ley says the government plans to introduce a bill to legalize medicinal cannabis in early in 2016.

The government's official opposition has also called for the legalization of medical marijuana, so the bill stands an excellent chance of passing.

AussCan wants to hit the ground running when the law comes into effect, so they've teamed up with Phytoplant Research - a Spanish company specializing in medicinal plants - to begin a trial planting on the island. If Australia legalizes medicinal cannabis, and the test crop pans out, the first legal crops will likely be planted on the island by Christmas next year.

The island is named in honor of Captain William Mynors, who arrived at the isolated area northwest of Australia on Christmas Day 1643. Approximately 2,000 people live in the territory, which also hosts Australia's immigration detention center. The growing operation, which would be set up on land that was recently reclaimed from phosphate mining, could be a huge boon for the island's struggling economy.

It might even revive interest in an old Christmas song, too.

h/t Business Insider, Sydney Morning Herald, ABC, The Guardian, The Australian


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