Australia cannabis growers and companies can jump for joy this week after the Australian cannabis industry has been given the green light to keep going global. A new bill passed on Wednesday in federal parliament will allow Australian cannabis growers to export medicinal cannabis and low-THC hemp into more countries overseas.
Although the export of medical cannabis and hemp products has been legal since the ‘Narcotic Drugs Amendment (Cannabis) Regulations’ bill was passed in 2018, growers were unable to actually export cannabis products into most international countries.
That was because many countries (including the US) required government certification and approval for all narcotic goods. This meant that our medical cannabis industry couldn’t export products into some of the most lucrative international markets, including South East Asia, Canada, China, and the US.
While this problem might seem small, USA’s cannabis market is enormous – worth over $13.6 billion in 2019. Ouch.
As a result of the Export Control Legislation Amendment (Certification of Narcotic Exports) bill, all Australia’s exported cannabis will need to be certified with the ‘Legitimate Export of Narcotic Products’ stamp before leaving our borders.
While this extra step creates more work for the Office of Drug Control (ODC) it will grow Australia’s cannabis industry. By 2024, our cannabis industry is meant to be worth over $1.5 billion. At that size, we will be the largest cannabis market in Oceania.
In the words of Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, this bill is going to allow Australia’s farmers to “come out firing after COVID-19.”
The potential for our farmers to compete in international markets is huge. – Senator Perin Davey
Obviously, these special exporting privileges are going to be limited. ODC has issued 100 licenses relating to cannabis culativation and research, of which 92 are active. However, if you can obtain one of those, you’re golden.
Surprisingly, medical cannabis and hemp might be headed for the US in the next few months – as ODC has promised to prioritise processing applications for grants with a Major Project Status.