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Big Tobacco Set to Get Higher

April 14, 2023

For many tobacco companies, the prospect of producing and selling cannabis is enticing. The US cannabis market is estimated to reach $22 billion by 2022, and the global market is expected to grow even more.

As such, tobacco companies are exploring ways to capitalise on the growing demand for cannabis. For tobacco companies, the first step in planning cannabis is understanding the regulatory environment in the countries where they plan to do business.

Regulations vary widely from country to country, and companies need to understand and comply with the rules to succeed. Additionally, tobacco companies need to develop strategies for how to produce and market cannabis products in a way that is consistent with their existing business models.

This could include focusing on high-end products, such as cannabis-infused cigars, or offering lower-priced products to appeal to a broader audience. Companies will also need to consider how to differentiate their cannabis products from those of competitors.

Finally, tobacco companies must consider the risks of entering the cannabis industry. This includes the possibility of legal and financial repercussions and consumer backlash if the products are seen as too closely associated with tobacco. Companies will need to address these risks through careful planning and marketing strategies.

When Be Will Recreational Cannabis Legal?

The legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes in Australia began on October 31, 2016, when the Narcotic Drugs Amendment Act 2016 was passed. This allowed for the cultivation and production of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) developed a new pathway for cannabis-related medicines to be approved and listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, which came into effect on November 1 2016. Since then, various state and territory governments have implemented laws and regulations around the prescription and supply of medical cannabis.

However, recreational cannabis remains illegal in Australia’s states and territories except the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

So far, there isn’t a clear indication of when or if Australia will legalise recreational cannabis, but attitudes seem to be changing. Public support is growing, and there’s also some political acceptance.

The Australian public is divided on the issue of cannabis legalisation. A 2018 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare survey found that 43% of Australians supported the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use, while 47% were opposed. The remaining 10% were undecided. Australia’s different age groups and regions tend to have different attitudes towards cannabis legalisation. Generally, younger Australians and those in more densely populated states are more likely to support cannabis legalisation.

Risk v Reward of Legal Recreational Cannabis

Risks of legalising cannabis:

  • Increased Cannabis: Legalising cannabis may increase use, particularly among adolescents. This could improve addiction rates, mental health issues, and other adverse health outcomes.
  • Increased Driving Under the Influence: Legalising cannabis may lead to more people driving under the influence, which could increase car accidents and fatalities.
  • Normalisation of Cannabis Use: Legalising cannabis may lead to its normalisation and acceptance, leading to more people using it. This could lead to an increase in its potency and potency-related harms.
  • Increased Access to Cannabis Products: Legalising cannabis could also lead to increased availability of cannabis products, including products with higher concentrations of THC and other potentially harmful chemicals.
  • Increased Cost of Healthcare: Legalising cannabis could lead to increased healthcare costs due to the potential for increased use, addiction, and associated medical conditions.

Rewards of Legalising Cannabis:

  • Increased Tax Revenue: Legalising cannabis would bring new tax revenue from drug sales. This could help fund public services, such as education and healthcare.
  • Reduced Incarceration: Legalising cannabis would lessen the number of people arrested and incarcerated for possessing or using the drug. This would free up resources to focus on more serious crimes.
  • Reduced Street Crime: Legalising cannabis could minimise street crime by taking away the illegal market for the drug. This would reduce violence associated with drug dealing and related activities.
  • Access to Medical Benefits: Legalising cannabis would make accessing the drug’s medical benefits easier. This could benefit those suffering from various conditions, such as chronic pain, epilepsy, and anxiety.
  • Economic Stimulus: Legalising cannabis could create jobs and stimulate economic activity. This could include jobs in the cannabis industry and related industries, such as tourism and retail.

The Industries of Legalised Cannabis

When/if cannabis is legalised for medicinal and recreational purposes, there will be an industry “green boom”. Here are a few examples of industry opportunities:

  • Cultivation: Growing and cultivating marijuana plants indoors or outdoors for commercial sale.
  • Processing: Extracting cannabinoids from the cannabis plant for use in oils, edibles, and concentrates.
  • Testing: Testing cannabis for potency, chemical composition, and safety.
  • Retail: Selling cannabis products in dispensaries, retail stores, and online.
  • Delivery: Delivering cannabis products to customers’ homes.
  • Manufacturing: Producing cannabis-infused products such as edibles, topicals, and tinctures.
  • Technology: Developing software, hardware, and other technology to support the cannabis industry.
  • Research and Development: Conduct research and development on cannabis products and applications.
  • Investment: Investing in cannabis-related businesses and products.
  • Education and Training: Educating consumers, business owners, and other stakeholders on cannabis laws, regulations, and best practices.

Is Australia falling behind in the legalisation of cannabis?

No, Australia is not falling behind in the legalisation of cannabis. Australia has been leading the way in legalising and decriminalising cannabis for medical purposes. In 2016, Australia legalised medical cannabis for specific medical conditions. In 2017, the government also announced a new licensing system for medicinal cannabis production, making it easier for companies to produce medical cannabis products. Australia is also leading the way in the research and development of medical cannabis products, including the development of new formulations and delivery systems.

However, regarding recreational cannabis — yes, Australia is falling behind. While some states have decriminalised the drug and allowed it for medical use, recreational cannabis remains unlawful at the federal level. Many countries in Europe, Canada, and several US states have all legalised recreational cannabis, while Australia has yet to make any progress on the issue.

All in all, Australia does look set to legalise cannabis, most likely, within the next decade, and be sure that Tobacco Companies will chomp at the bit to side-step from a “dying industry” to a new and improved “green” future. What are your thoughts, and how can you take the first steps in becoming a Medicinal Cannabis Provider in the coming years?

At HCPA, we have some exciting news in the work, so stay tuned!

SOURCES | The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, Therapeutic Goods Administration ‘Medicinal cannabis manufacture’ |

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