Medical Marijuana Predicted to Become “Instant $100 Million Industry”

This article, in various forms, has been making the rounds in throughout the mainstream media, in Australia and overseas.

As we’ve seen happen in the USA and other countries, the driving force behind cannabis legalisation is not based on ethical or health considerations, but the money. As soon as huge profits are flagged, those with money to invest will do what they have always done – lobby government to allow them to make more.  Here at PharmaBlends we see this as neither good nor bad, but simply the way things work.

Our challenge is to work alongside the growing industry and policy makers to ensure that, in the rush towards profitability, the concerns of cannabis users are taken into account. Do we want to see the development of an industry centred purely on profits, or on the delivery of quality products that will bring benefits to the widest range of people? The overseas proliferation of  mass produced oils and other derivatives that use low quality leaf and trim, for example, is one example of what can happen in a purely profit-driven industry.

It is a fact that people have been growing and consuming cannabis in Australia for decades, and we believe that input from these producers and consumers should be taken into account as legislation is being developed. Who else has the hands-on experience to help guide legislation to ensure that high quality products that reflect the needs and desires of the thousands of Australians currently using cannabis reach the marketplace?

There’s nothing wrong with making money on cannabis – in fact, we welcome the rise of cannabis entrepreneurs and the development of a nationwide industry. But let’s work together to ensure that it is an industry that combines ethical considerations with profitability.

Get involved. Write your local MPs, the TPA and other agencies and demand that Australia’s cannabis industry be transparent and, above all, inclusive.



Medical marijuana to become an instant $100 million industry, study shows

An Israeli agricultural engineer inspects marijuana plants at the Breath of Life greenhouse in the country’s second-largest medical cannabis plantation, near Kfar Pines in northern Israel. Picture: Jack Guez

AUSTRALIANS are expected to consume as much as 8000kg of medical cannabis worth $100 million in just the first year of being legalised, according to a study by the University of Sydney.

The figure, contained in a white paper produced by the University of Sydney Business School and medical cannabis company MGC Pharmaceuticals, is based on data from existing markets including Israel, Canada and the Netherlands.

The paper, Medicinal Cannabis in Australia: Science, Regulation and Industry, is the first of its kind to examine the logistic and economic, as well as medinical benefits of a local medicinal cannabis industry.

The federal Parliament passed legislation allowing for the cultivation of medicinal cannabis last month, and regulations governing production under licence are now being drafted.

Medicinal cannabis, already a $250 billion global industry, is expected to help tens of thousands of patients in Australia suffering from medical conditions including epilepsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain.

Earlier this month, the global president of Canadian firm Tilray predicted medical marijuana had the potential to be a billion-dollar industry in Australia and create thousands of skilled jobs.

University of Sydney Business School associate lecturer Michael Katz said the study’s lower figure was for the first year alone.

“We’re talking $100 million in year one, that’s the latent demand that’s already there,” he said.

“We’re not talking about increased uptake, exports, and that doesn’t include the next tech billionaire who develops an app [to tap into the market].”

Mr Katz said Australia was uniquely positioned to scale production to become a world leader in exports, rivalling producers such as Mongolia.

Israeli doctors prescribed cannabis to 25,000 patients last year. Picture: Jack Guez

Israeli doctors prescribed cannabis to 25,000 patients last year. Picture: Jack GuezSource:AFP

Forbidden to export cannabis, Israel is marketing its expertise. Picture: Jack Guez

Forbidden to export cannabis, Israel is marketing its expertise. Picture: Jack GuezSource:AFP

“I think Australia has a competitive advantage against most of these countries,” he said. “Australian agricultural products in general are considered clean, green and we have a strong rule of law.”

The authors worked closely with MGC to understand the demand side and private sector economics of the industry to come to its estimate.

“There’s a lot more to a new industry like medical cannabis than you might immediately think,” Mr Katz said.

“You’ve got the technical agriculture side of it, the medical processes such as extraction and dosage, the technology side such as scalable standardisation tools, supply chain logistics and so on.

“Obviously this will lead to important health outcomes for a wide variety of people. For example, it could provide considerable relief for those suffering from epilepsy.

“However, we’re also going to see employment and wealth creation opportunities in all of the sectors that will come together to facilitate a medical cannabis market, so it’s about much more than just the medical benefits.”

The authors said 51,000sq m of greenhouse space, or “three times the size of the Sydney Cricket Ground” would be needed to produce the amount of cannabis required to meet demand.

MGC Pharmaceuticals managing director Nativ Segev said the study confirmed the strong need for developing a medicinal cannabis industry in Australia.

“MGC Pharma has both the growing know-how and genetic expertise to be at the forefront this industry, helping tens of thousands of Australians suffering from a broad range of conditions,” he said.