We have reported about Australia’s objective to dominate the international cannabis market as it gears for federal approval to export cannabis-based medicines. (Article is here.)
To recall, Health Minister Greg Hunt said that allowing the exportation of medical cannabis is going to create a bigger market for these products and is going to eventually contribute to a domestic supply that is more stable and more secure. He also expressed his hope that with this move by the Federal Government, the country will become the world’s top supplier of medical cannabis.
However, Tilray president Brendan Kennedy begs to differ. He said that the country is not likely to become a big producer of cannabis. According to him, Australia’s potential to export raw cannabis was limited.
The Federal Government’s approval pertains to finished medical cannabis products like cannabis oil, as well as cannabis buds, for export. However, bulk raw material for processing outside of the country won’t be permitted.
Australia’s potential to export raw cannabis is limited. There are positive signs in the country, but these signs are not as big as they have expected.- Tilray President Brendan Kennedy
Tilray is a Canadian company that cultivates medical cannabis and produces premium medical cannabis products that deliver its health benefits to patients in various parts of the globe. Based in British Columbia, Tilray operates one of the most advanced medical cannabis research and production facilities in the world. It also takes pride as being the world’s only American-owned federally licensed commercial medical cannabis producer.
Currently, the company is exporting to eight countries and is setting up a $30-million cultivation and research facility in Portugal.
Tilray has a team of scientists, horticulturists, extraction specialists, botanists, and technologists who are committed to further understand medical cannabis and study its safety and efficacy in the treatment of various conditions and diseases.
Kennedy believes that Australia could succeed in the global medical cannabis market because of the government’s strict standards, but the government and Australian companies should focus on research first.
The company is involved in four different medical cannabis product trials in Australia. These product trials involve epilepsy and cancer patients and are testing to see the impact of cannabinoids on the users’ ability to drive, on their oral health, and on their emotional response to the substance.
However, in terms of cultivation, Tilray backed away from investing in a cultivation plant in Australia, contending that the domestic demand isn’t enough to warrant it. Kennedy noted that they have seen positive signs in the country, but these signs are not as big as they have expected.
Kennedy said that in countries around the equator or countries with geographic advantages to grow cannabis, like Congo and Columbia, the cannabis plant will start to look like just any other agricultural product. Especially considering that, at the moment, the price per kilogram for cannabis is very high.
According to Kennedy, the international market for recreational cannabis is already $200 billion, while the medical cannabis market is rapidly growing and is likely to reach around $100 billion in the next five to 10 years. He added that if one looks at the number of countries that have already legalized medical cannabis, he expects that number to grow by an additional 10 by the end of 2018.
Kennedy believes that Australia could succeed in the global medical cannabis market because of the government’s strict standards, but the government and Australian companies should focus on research first. As a whole, the Australian industry will have to focus on the uses of medical cannabis in order to be successful, he added.
In other words, Kennedy thinks that medical cannabis has a promising future, but it won’t shape up as an export industry for the raw commodity.