Canada has made great inroads into the nascent global cannabis industry. As public opinion slowly turns in favor of cannabis, a handful of countries, including Canada, have legalized either medical and adult-use cannabis or both. The Great White North is among the biggest exporters of medical marijuana oil in the world, and according to data from Health Canada, Canadian-produced medical marijuana oil reached more international shores than ever last year.
In 2019, cannabis oil exports were approved for export to at least 17 countries for medical and scientific purposes, but the bulk of the exports involved only a few countries. Overall, 1181 gallons of cannabis oil products were exported for medical and scientific use, and 90% went to three countries. Australia imported roughly 977 gallons of Canadian-made marijuana oil while Germany and Denmark imported 173 gallons and 74 gallons respectively. The remaining 120 gallons of cannabis oil was shipped to 10 or more countries.
Last year’s shipments were almost five times more than the 202 gallons exported from Canada in 2018. Marijuana oil exports in 2019 also exceeded the 8,245 pounds of dried cannabis exported from Canada in 2019. According to Sarah Seale, CEO of Toronto-based Seale & Garland Consulting and a partner at Cannabis Global Consultants, medical cannabis oil is more readily used in medical products, and this makes it more sought after overseas. “There’s a wider market, a higher price point, and it’s a little bit easier to import and export it when you’re dealing with oil,” she says.
Although Canada has had great success with the global medical marijuana export market, fellow progressive countries like Jamaica, Australia, Portugal, and Colombia are itching to jump into the market as well. Despite the threat of increased competition, Seale believes Canadian companies will continue enjoying their advantage, but only if they play their cards right. “Anybody looking to export now is going to be looking at paths that are already open. Canada has the opportunity of looking at the paths that aren’t open yet and making provisions to be the first one in the door in those markets as well.”
Co-founder and CEO of Toronto-based regulatory consulting firm CannaDelta Sherry Boodram says that some countries that have recently legalized cannabis are looking to meet demand through imports before their systems for domestic production are up and running. “A lot of countries don’t have provisions in place to produce dried flower and oil products, so they’re going to look at other countries to obtain those product formats.”
This data is likely to be of great interest to sector players like Plus Products Inc. (CSE: PLUS) (OTCQX: PLPRF) who would also relish the opportunity to get a larger piece of the international market for cannabis products.
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