Australia is set to pass a new law, making it the world’s largest player in the medical marijuana industry. The law would permit Australian marijuana grow companies to export their products abroad, with not many restrictions. This puts the country down under in the position to rise to the top to become the world’s largest marijuana exporter.
On Thursday, the government announced that it will legalize the overseas export of medical marijuana. Shortly after this announcement, the stock prices of Australian marijuana grow companies skyrocketed, such as Cann Group, who saw their shares shoot up 35 percent. CEO of Cann Group, Peter Crock, said in an interview that the legalization of exports puts his company in position to generate revenue abroad in markets that cannot meet supply demands, like Germany.
According to a statement on the Minister for Health Greg Hunt’s website, the decision to legalize medical marijuana exports “will help both the domestic supply and Australian producers by strengthening the opportunities for domestic manufacturers. We’d like to be potentially the world’s number one supplier”.
Australian investment firms have also expressed enthusiasm regarding Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull government’s decision. The idea of a new floodgate opening from oversea investments into the country’s medical marijuana industry has them jumping for joy. Australia, like the U.S. states, has been able to make their own decisions regarding medical marijuana, yet, recreational use remains prohibited.
In 2016, medical access to marijuana became legal at the federal level. But, medical marijuana prescriptions are not all that popular in the country. According to Hunt, there are only a few hundred patients that receive marijuana products for treatment. But, why? Patients have reported difficulty in accessing legal medical pot and that doctors are refusing to prescribe it to them. Therefore, the country is seeking to legalize medical marijuana exports with the hope to jump-start the local industry and improve access for patients.
“Our goal is to ensure that Australian producers have every opportunity to be the number one producers of the highest-grade medicinal cannabis in the world,” said Hunt.
The Turnbull government’s changes to the export laws will come into effect during February of 2018.