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Southern Cross Plant Science director appointed to NSW Medicinal Cannabis Advisory Council


Sharlene King
3 December 2015
Professor Graham King, an expert in plant science and genetics and director of Southern Cross Plant Science, has been appointed to the NSW Medicinal Cannabis Advisory Council.

Professor King joins a group of doctors, academics and patient welfare advocates who have been appointed to the special advisory council to guide the NSW Government’s world-leading medicinal cannabis research program.

The newly-appointed Advisory Council will work with the NSW Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation to ensure the Centre’s work is informed by best practice and linked into the community, researchers and industry worldwide.

“I am excited to be part of this new Advisory Council, which brings together a unique and broad range of expertise and stakeholders to address conceptual and logistical issues surrounding use of cannabis derived products for medicinal and therapeutic use,” said Professor King.

“For my part, I am able to bring expertise to the table in the relevant areas of plant science and genetics, and draw on experience from a range of crops, including industrial hemp. The NSW Government has taken a bold lead in exploring what scope there is for drawing together relevant information from different sources, and providing a platform for assessing how novel outcomes may then be implemented.”

The nine Advisory Council members are: Professor Richard Day AM, Professor Adrian Dunlop, Dr Bronwyn Evans, Mrs Lucy Haslam, Professor Alison Jones, Professor Graham King, Professor Laurent Rivory, Dr Saxon Smith and Dr Kendra Sundquist.

They met for the first time in Sydney this week with Professor Mary O’Kane, Director of the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation.

Minister for Medical Research Pru Goward said the Advisory Council members brought a wealth of knowledge and a diverse set of skills to the incredibly complex issue.

“NSW is leading the way when it comes to medicinal cannabis research, taking major steps forward to improve our understanding of cannabis and cannabis products for therapeutic purposes,” said Ms Goward.

The NSW Government has invested $12 million to establish the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation, as well as $9 million for three clinical trials.

The Department of Primary Industries and the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation are also looking for potential sites in NSW that could be suitable for the cultivation of cannabis for medical or scientific purposes.

Professor Mary O’Kane, who is also the NSW Chief Scientist, said she was looking forward to working closely with the Council.

“There’s a lot of activity happening right now in the medicinal cannabis space – and it’s absolutely vital that what we’re doing in NSW is guided by best practice, and connected to what researchers and industry players are doing worldwide,” Professor O’Kane said.

“The Centre will draw on the Council’s experience and expertise to help set its research priorities moving forward and identify potential research and industry collaborations.”

Professor Graham King is Director of Plant Science at Southern Cross University, an Honorary Professor at the University of Nottingham, a Chutian Professor Chair in Wuhan, China and a Research Associate of Crops For the Future in Malaysia. Gaining his PhD from the University of London in 1986, he then established an international profile in crop plant genetics and genomics, including positions at the University of Warwick and Rothamsted Research. He has worked alongside plant breeders and led major national and international research consortia, generating fundamental knowledge applied to the genetic improvement of arable and horticultural crops.

Photo: Professor Graham King.