Canadian medical cannabis producers are expected to be among those to apply to produce cannabis crops for medical and scientific purposes.
Australia’s Office of Drug Control begins accepting applications from private business for cannabis cultivation licences on Monday, Oct. 31, and Tilray and Tweed will be among those applying to be a part of the new legal medical market.
The Australian government announced their intention to legalize the production of cannabis ‘for medical and scientific purposes’ in October 2015, and parliament amended the Narcotic Drugs Act in February to make this process legal. The law came into effect on Sunday, Oct 30th.
Earlier this year, Canadian-based Tilray announced a clinical trial with the Government of New South Wales and the University of Sydney, looking at the effectiveness of cannabis on nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Tilray has said they also hope to build a 15-20 million dollar production facility in the country.
While not directly connected to Canada, Bedrocan Australia recently put on their first ‘mini masterclass’ in Australia. The masterclass is an invite-only event lead and developed by Dr Arno Hazekamp. Bedrocan has been putting on the masterclass series for 6 years, aiming to help increase attendees’ understanding of medicinal-cannabis: “especially the science, pharmacology, clinical use, patient preferences and regulatory issues” surrounding its use.
Bedrocan International, which owns Bedrocan Australia, recently announcedthey were selling off their final shares in Canopy Growth Corporation, the parent company of Tweed Inc and Bedrocan Canada. “Cannabis to us is not a lifestyle product,” said the company’s chairman of the board Tjalling Erkelens, in an attempt to distance themselves from Tweed Inc’s stated recreational market goals.
In May, Canada’s Canopy Growth Corp. announced they had partnered with Australian company AusCann to give access to genetic starting material and experience and data from their subsidiaries Tweed Inc and Tweed farms (butnot Bedrocan Canada). Auscann and Canopy Growth have stated that they expect products to be available for approved patients in Australia by mid 2017.
The Victoria government in the south-east of Australia planted their first crop earlier this year, and product from this and subsequent crops is expected to be ready in mid 2017. The state of Victoria has established their own medicinal cannabis taskforce.
More info on the regulations can be found here.
Australia’s medical cannabis legislation and infrastructure is considered heavily influenced by Canada’s MMPR (now ACMPR), and many Australian companies have also shown considerable interest in both the MMPR/ACMPR, as well as individual licensed producers.
MMJPhytotech, an Australian company, owns Vancouver Island’s United Greeneries, a subsidiary of MMJ Biotech. An Australian mining firm also made moves to invest in Vancouver Island’s Broken Coast in early 2015, although the deal quietly fizzled out a few months later. MMJPhytotech also owns a 60,000 sq ft growing facility in Lucky Lake, Sask, in the early stages of the application process.
Canadian companies have been present in other foreign markets, as well. Tilray applied to be a producer in Uruguay in 2015, although they were not one of the two companies awarded a license. Tilray and Peace Naturals have both recently begun shipping product to Croatia and Germany, respectively. Canopy Growth has also partnered with a German company for future distribution. The company Peace Naturals has teamed up with, Pedaimos, had been previously importing cannabis via Bedrocan BV (Netherlands).
Michael Gorenstein, the CEO of Crono’s, the parent company of Ontario producer the Peace Naturals Project, says the German market is interesting to them because it’s so much bigger than Canada, with a high cost of electricity, a strong dollar, high wages and a population more than double Canada’s, at over 80 million.
“One of the things we love about the program in Canada’s regulatory framework, is it does allow for companies to expand internationally. I think that Germany is a great market and provides a lot of opportunity for Canadians because they don’t actually allow production there, and even if they were to, the cost of producing in Germany is much, much higher than producing in Canada, so I think it’s an example of something that can really be a stimulus, not just for our company, but the Canadian economy in general.”
Canada’s medical cannabis system is leading the way, globally, continues Gorenstein.
“I still believe Canada is the most sophisticated, from a regulatory perspective. The way things are done here is the gold standard, globally, and I think that other countries are starting to look to Canada from a production and from a regulation perspective.”
Featured image via skynews.com.au