Cannabis (4)
Cannabis plants are seen in a greenhouse of Swiss cannabis producer KannaSwiss in Koelliken, Switzerland March 20, 2017. Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann

Founder of the Australian Cannabis Corporation, Ben Fitzsimons, has said he will keep the business in South Australia as backer and business Shane Yeend said he may move the investment abroad. The development comes on the heels of Yeend accusing Premier Jay Weatherill of verbal assault last year.

The matter stemmed from a heated confrontation between the Premier and the businessman at a Labor fundraiser in December. Yeend said Weatherill “launched into a tirade, a centimetre from my nose” when he questioned the Premier about the Government’s inadequate action on his business proposals.

Speaking with radio stations FIVEaa, Yeend said he was frustrated with the Labor government. “I need answers to create businesses. How do we create opportunities if the place is in lock down?’’ Yeend, who is a shareholder in the Australian Cannabis Corporation, said.

He confirmed he will be filing a civil lawsuit stemming from the incident with Weatherill at last year’s Labor fundraiser. He also said “we still haven’t got nothing” after the Federal Government announced it will work towards legalisation of medicinal cannabis across Australia more than a year ago. “I’ve got nothing to lose. I can go overseas any day of the week,” he said.

Yeend had taken out an advertisement, claiming that government had not responded to Australian Cannabis Corporation’s plans for creating 2500 jobs and $800 million in revenue at the Holden site, the day prior to the fundraiser. “There’s so many good people they just need to be allowed to do their jobs and go out and seize opportunities... first on ground wins,” Mr Yeend said. “You don’t come around in two years and go, ‘How come we don’t have a piece of the cannabis business?’”

Weatherill, speaking with The Australian, said he “certainly wasn’t prepared to tolerate” Yeend’s behaviour during the incident at the fundraiser. He added he was working “constructively” with Fitzsimons and Australian Cannabis Corporation.

“Mr Yeend, as he’s demonstrated through his conduct, it’s very difficult to work with him,” Weatherill said. “I am not going to offer any commentary on Mr Yeend, except to say I think his conduct on radio today really speaks for itself.”

However, Fitzsimons said he will not move the business overseas. “I wouldn’t say we’re intending to leave SA,” he said, speaking with InDaily. He said while other governments have approached him, South Australia can be greatly benefitted from the industry.