Israeli Cannabis Plantation
A worker tends to cannabis plants at a plantation near the northern Israeli city of Safed June 11, 2012. Reuters/Baz Ratner

The cannabis legalisation storm is sweeping the world, and Australia’s late Greens MP John Kaye was a knight in shining armour as he was trying his level best to decriminalise medical marijuana based on his own experience. Unfortunately, he lost his battle with cancer and died at the age of 60 on Monday. He was a man of “enormous principle, energy and commitment.” He was a personal user of medicinal cannabis, and according to him, he benefitted greatly from it. Hence, he was hell-bent in legalising cannabis in Australia.

Kaye was preparing to introduce a private member's bill to the NSW Parliament for legalising cannabis for medical use just weeks before he died. He was using cannabis himself to get relief from the pain. However, his condition rapidly deteriorated 10 days ago and his plans were thwarted. Fellow Greens MP David Shoebridge told Fairfax Media that Kaye “was always thinking of the greater good.”

Jeremy Buckingham, a fellow Greens MP, said that Kaye’s intention was to further the cause of decriminalising medical cannabis. Buckingham had given notice on Kaye's behalf of his intention to introduce the bill.

In another part of the world, Oregon recently opened its first cannabis campus and it’s a big step towards becoming a definitive marijuana destination. Just like wineries and breweries, a trip to the campus means visitors can see how cannabis is grown and cultivated and then prepared for sale.

The 30,000 square feet Chalice Farms headquarters and campus will also show visitors how edibles are prepared in the kitchen. All the extra cannabis is stored in a vault. Hence, there is no question of mishandling of the drug, reports Portland’s KATU2. Thus, Portland is all set to become a marijuana tourism destination.

Laws legalising the use of medical cannabis may take some time to catch up, but major players who have seen the huge potential that the industry offers have already entered the race. While only four US states have authorised the manufacture and distribution of the product, companies in countries like Australia, Israel and Canada are receiving support from their respective governments.

In Australia, growth potential is huge. The Australian medical marijuana industry itself is looking at earnings of $100 million a year just for the first year. It pegs the current value of the entire global medical cannabis industry at $250 billion.