Australia’s nascent medical cannabis industry is nearing a historic moment, as the Federal Government is about to allow the export of cannabinoid-based medicines. Health minister Greg Hunt said that this decision is aimed towards the creation of a bigger market for the medicinal plants that are produced locally and the increase of production.
"This is actually a very important step for our domestic patients and our domestic supply," he said, "by knowing they have an Australian market and an international market, that improves the likelihood of growing and production in Australia."
Currently, exports of medical cannabis products are not allowed, but this legal framework is set to change in February. The parliament will vote on changes that will pertain to products such as oils, patches, sprays, and tablets based on cannabinoids and designed to battle a wide range of conditions.
Greg Hunt said that the projected increase in production will mean better quality medicine for Australians and international buyers. "We would like to be, potentially, the world's number one medicinal cannabis supplier," he added, pointing out that in any case, Australian patients come first.
The Future of Medicinal Cannabis in Australia
When the Australian parliament passed laws permitting the use of marijuana in 2016, many critics claimed that doctors avoided prescribing medical cannabis, as it was too complicated. "There are now no real government barriers at all to accessing medicinal cannabis," Greg Hunt said,"It is up to individual doctors — governments shouldn't interfere in the prescribing practices of individual doctors."
Hunt further added that the Health Ministry is working closely with both the Australian Medical Association and the College of GP in order to change this situation.