Government approves medical cannabis exports, sparks ASX price surge

Casey Dawson
January 6, 2018

On 24 February 2016, Australia legalized medicinal cannabis on a federal level, subject to state and territory regulations.

Regulations that now prevent exports of medicinal cannabis products will be changed once Parliament resumes in February.

The products will be distributed throughout Australia and made available to eligible medical practitioners through government-approved schemes.

AusCann revealed it will now start producing cannabis products to treat chronic pain and epilepsy, among other conditions, with a view to export by late 2018.

Australia's chief commodity forecaster does not publish data on cannabis production, but rough estimates by the University of Sydney estimated the legal industry at A$100 million ($78 million), well below the C$4 billion ($3.19 billion) that Canada estimates its market to be worth. Victoria in 2016 became Australia's first state to legalise cannabis for medical use, quickly followed by NSW.

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Recreational use of marijuana is still forbidden nationwide in Australia.

Its medicinal cannabis clinics program is also on track to commence this year, which will provide professional education and training for physicians and patients.

"It appears to me Greg Hunt's move is a sensible move forward", he said. There could be "more than enough" for Aussie patients and global consumers. He maintained that the sector is supportive of that and cited a "progressive increase" in prescriptions. Since Parliament passed laws allowing its use, the number of patients being prescribed medicinal cannabis has been limited.

As per the health minister of Australia, the government's objective behind legitimizing cannabis exports is to be the Numero Uno exporter of the drug in the world. "This will really strengthen the industry, enabling it to supply Australian patients - in addition to worldwide patients - with high quality, cost-effective cannabinoid medicines", Darby said on Thursday.

"Because under the new regulations, they will have the first right of access".

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