With the government set to permit the export of medicinal cannabis products, a number of companies are licking their lips.
When parliament resumes in February, the Federal Government will change regulations to allow the export of medicinal cannabis products.
The ultimate vision of this amendment is to see Australia become the world’s “number one medicinal cannabis supplier”.
“This is actually a very important step for our domestic patients and our domestic supply,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
“By knowing they have an Australian market and an international market, that improves the likelihood of growing and production in Australia.
“We would like to be, potentially, the world’s number one medicinal cannabis supplier.”
And while Australian patients will be first in line for the oils, tablets, patches and sprays that soothe and relieve, Mr Hunt believes production will increase to a point where there is “more than enough” product both locally and abroad.
“One of the conditions of any licence for export is that medicinal cannabis be made available to Australian patients first,” he said.
“The sector is fully supportive of that. Australian patients come first.”
The Australian Financial Review estimates the potential medical cannabis domestic market to be worth $1 billion a year, and the global market to reach $US34 billion by 2021.
As of December, there were already 11 ASX-listed companies positioning themselves for the anticipated boom in business.
AusCann, which has a reported market cap of $173 million and is backed by the largest legal cannabis grower in the world – Canada’s Canopy Growth, is one of those.
AusCann Chief executive Elaine Darby said the new laws will be a huge step forward for chronic pain sufferers.
“The Australian market is very significant,” she says. “When you consider 20 per cent of Australians suffer chronic pain … there are about 1.8 million sufferers of nerve pain there is a big opportunity.”
Since the use of medicinal cannabis was legalised in 2016, there has been a criticism that medical practitioners have been unwilling to prescribe it.
Mr Hunt insists the government is working with doctors to alleviate some of the caution associated with the drug. And says these new laws will only enhance its legitimacy.