Queensland Bauxite’s marijuana arm has changed its mind on moving into researching or cultivating medical cannabis in Australia anytime soon.

Last year QBL (ASX:QBL) told investors its Medical Cannabis Ltd (MCL) subsidiary had “prepared and lodged an additional application for a medicinal cannabis cultivation licence through the Office of Drug Control to obtain the right to lawfully cultivate cannabis for medicinal exploration”.

But that is no longer the case, MCL said this week via a company-approved post published on Facebook and the Hot Copper forum.

“QBL has had to investigate and consider whether there is any purpose served by pursuing medical research, medical cultivation and medical production licences in Australia or would it be better served to operate with their international partners, using the international licensing facilities already approved,” the post said.

“QBL is more than fully covered by its current licences and its international partners’ main licences.”

MCL boss Andrew Kavasilas told Stockhead he would not rule out growing pot locally in the future.

The change in direction comes as more cannabis companies are reviewing the size of the capital investment required to establish a local operation — compared to partnering with existing offshore players.

Cannabis producers must be licensed by the Office of Drug Control if they want to legally work in the medical cannabis field — but in order to grow the stuff they need a permit, which is expensive and difficult to obtain.

In order to win a permit companies must already have extremely secure growing facilities built and ready to go. Industry leader Cann Group (ASX:CAN) raised $60 million in December last year to invest in facilities that will meet permit requirements.

MCL believes it is better served by collaborating with licensed partners in Israel and Canada.

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“QBL holds significant advantages and is a leader in the Australian MM [medical marijuana] sector by virtue of the overseas broader licences,” the group said.

MCL already has a hemp growing licence and an import licence for low-THC seeds.

It is working on obtaining an import licence for a range of Canadian THC and sativa pills from CannTab, and an export licence for its seed bank.

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are the active elements in cannabis. It’s THC that provides the psychoactive high, where CBD is non-psychoactive. Hemp is a low-THC product that was legalised to farm in Australia in November last year.