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Medicinal Cannabis Import and Local Supply Insights

December 19, 2023

Key Points:

Nearly 25,000kg of medicinal cannabis was produced in Australia in 2022, with an almost identical amount arriving in the country from overseas, official data from the Office of Drug Control (ODC) has revealed.

Newly-released figures show the quantity of imported cannabis last year soared to 24,887kg, up 247% from 2021 when just 7,173kg was shipped to Australia.

The volume of home-produced cannabis in 2022 climbed 49% to 24,900kg, reflecting the increasing number of cultivation facilities in Australia.

In a landmark year for Australia’s medicinal cannabis sector, the Office of Drug Control (ODC) unveils crucial data for 2022, spotlighting a fascinating convergence in local cultivation and international imports. With nearly 25,000kg of medicinal cannabis entering the country, the intricate dynamics of supply and demand, regulatory nuances, and global connections come to the forefront.

Homegrown Harvest Surges:

The heartening surge of 49% in domestic cannabis production, reaching 24,900kg in 2022, signifies the robust growth of cultivation facilities across Australia. This upswing underscores a commitment to meeting the escalating demand for medicinal cannabis within the nation’s borders. Prescribing medicinal cannabis is a nuanced and sometimes contentious practice. HCPA’s involvement in aiding prescribers to access medicinal cannabis reflects this complexity. The study reveals the prescription of flower-based cannabis products containing THC, primarily for anxiety and mainly for males aged 31 or younger.

Global Connections and Imports:

In tandem with local growth, the imported landscape witnessed a remarkable surge, totalling 24,887kg—a substantial 247% increase from the previous year. Canada emerged as a dominant contributor, representing 85% of total imports and showcasing a significant 266% surge. Other contributors, including Portugal, Germany, and Denmark, played pivotal roles in shaping Australia’s international cannabis connections.

Regulatory Emphasis on Local Supply:

The export market, in contrast, experienced measured growth, with Australian firms exporting 1,510kg of cannabis—a modest 6% increase. This strategic balance highlights the regulatory emphasis on ensuring the local supply chain addresses the primary needs of Australian patients before serving international markets. HCPA’s expertise is essential in navigating the intricate regulations and protocols surrounding medicinal cannabis research and prescription.

Stock Holdings and Regulatory Compliance:

Insights into cannabis stock held by Australian companies provide a nuanced view. In 2021, companies had 17,700kg of stock, surpassing the actual production of 16,700kg. However, in 2022, the trend shifted, with stock decreasing to 15,400kg. These stock holdings encompass cannabis from diverse sources, including cultivation, purchases from domestic providers, and reserves for manufacturing activities. At HCPA, our experts are poised to navigate you through regulations and industry intricacies.

Transparency Initiatives:

The ODC’s commitment to transparency within the medicinal cannabis industry is evident through the release of comprehensive data. Launching a dedicated cannabis data webpage and the public disclosure of import and export figures signify a proactive approach to fostering openness and collaboration within the sector.

International Trade Dynamics:

Canada’s prominent role in cannabis imports is evident, contributing significantly to the 24,887kg total. Noteworthy growth is also observed in imports from Portugal, Germany, and Denmark, illustrating the intricate global connections that shape Australia’s medicinal cannabis trade.

Export Destinations:

Germany remains a crucial destination for Australian cannabis exports, receiving 62% of the 1,510kg shipped in 2022. While this marked a decrease from 2021, promising growth is observed in other markets, including New Zealand and the UK.

Australia’s medicinal cannabis sector, as illuminated by the 2022 data, is marked by a harmonious dance between domestic cultivation and international imports. This delicate balance, rooted in transparency and regulatory adherence, ensures a sustainable and patient-focused approach to medicinal cannabis in Australia’s evolving healthcare landscape.

HCPA is an all-in-one solution for Medicinal Cannabis providers, supporting them with registration, growth and consulting. Contact us here or call 03 9084 7472 to learn how we can help you succeed.

SOURCES | Cannabiz ‘Cannabis imports and local suply neck and neck in 2022, data shows’ |

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