The medical marijuana industry in Australia is expected to grow significantly this year, with some experts noting that the market may even outdo the medical cannabis sector in Canada. Australia legalized medical cannabis in 2016.
Patients using medical marijuana in the country usually access the drug from an approved prescriber or through the Special Access Scheme Category B (SAS-B) system. Data from the Therapeutic Goods Administration shows that the number of patient approvals under the SAS-B system increased in the period between 2018 and 2021, before declining last year.
The primary cause of the decline in approvals was the implementation of reforms that prompted some patients to secure their prescriptions through an approved prescriber. This is backed by data, which shows a significant increase in patient approvals. In 2019, patient approvals stool at 322 while by the second half of last year, this number had reached 172,185.
Rhys Cohen, global partnerships and engagement advisor at the Penington Institute, estimates that last year patients spent about $165 million on prescription medical marijuana products. The institute is a public health research and drug policy organization focused on improving community health and safety in relation to drugs. The organization forecasts that the market may double in size this year, a move that would put spending in Australia significantly ahead of Canada’s medical marijuana industry, which was valued at $302 million in 2022.
Cannatrek CEO Tommy Huppert attributes the growth of Australia’s industry to the increasing number of physicians who can prescribe marijuana. He stated that patient approvals were increasing as more authorized prescribers became active; those activations are increasing because the prescribers don’t need to apply through the special access scheme system.
The reforms implemented in late 2021 also reduced the cost and time involved for patients when their prescribed product was discontinued or unavailable. It also helps that Australia is a big importer of unapproved medical marijuana products and marijuana for research purposes in the world, along with Germany and Israel.
The majority of the country’s imports come from the United Kingdom and Canada, with ANTG CEO noting that the Australian market has been dominated by imported products for the last five years. It is expected that the market will become more competitive, however, as emphasis on domestic production increases to meet local demand.
Beginning in July 2023, all medical marijuana products to be sold in the country will need to comply with new requirements on labeling, manufacturing quality and child-resistant packaging.
As marijuana markets in different countries and states grow, many opportunities are created for innovators in different fields, such as Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) that specializes in manufacturing grow equipment which can boost cannabis plant performance.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/ACTX
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