Budding cannabis producers can now apply for a licence to legally grow the crop in Australia, for medicinal use only.

The Narcotic Drugs Amendment Act 2016, which came into effect on Sunday, allows businesses to apply for a licence to cultivate cannabis or manufacture cannabis products for medicinal purposes, or to conduct related research.

The health minister, Sussan Ley, said the changes would give patients and doctors access to a safe, reliable and legal source of cannabis for medicinal use.

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Thumbnail: Flickr CC Jimmy Harris