Australia aims to become top medicinal cannabis exporter

The Australian minister of health, Greg Hunt, has announced plans to make that country the world’s number one exporter of medicinal cannabis, according to a report by Reuters.

Australia aims to become top medicinal cannabis exporter

Shares in more than a dozen cannabis producers listed on the Australian Securities Exchange rose after the announcement, the report said.

The global market for medicinal cannabis was estimated to be about US$55billion (R679 billion).

Cannabis cultivation in Australia was still very limited, as recreational use remained illegal. Medicinal use was legalised in 2017.

Legislation governing exports would include a requirement that Australian growers first meet local demand before exporting the remainder of their crops, the report said.

Uruguay, Canada and the Netherlands had previously legalised the exporting of medicinal marijuana.

Estimates by the University of Sydney indicated that the legal industry in that country was valued at about US$78 million (R962 091 000), the report said.

A Gauteng-based pharmacist, who spoke to Farmer’s Weekly on condition of anonymity, said that trading in medicinal marijuana, such as cannabis oil, remained a grey area in South Africa.

Although it was apparently legal to use such substances in the home, it was still illegal to sell it and those doing so could be prosecuted, he said.

Farmer’s Weekly previously reported that the Medicines Control Council had invited public comment on draft guidelines to control production, cultivation and manufacturing of medicinal marijuana.

In a landmark judgment on 31 March 2017, the Western Cape High Court declared that it was an infringement to ban the use of dagga by adults in private homes, and that the national legislature had 24 months within which to change sections of the Drug Trafficking Act and the Medicines Control Act.