Australia's cannabis export market has been developing since the legalisation of medicinal marijuana. Here's what to know about the landscape.

The legalisation of medicinal cannabis in Australia, along with the decriminalisation of cannabis in the Australian Capital Territory, is creating opportunities for the export market.

But what types of cannabis products are being exported from Australia and where are they going?

Read on for a look at Australia's cannabis export market, including how it started up, where the country sends its cannabis products and what could be next as the nation's marijuana space develops.


When did Australia legalise cannabis exports?

Australia legalised the export of medicinal cannabis products in February 2018, about two years after cannabis was legalised in the country for medicinal and research purposes.

However, while medicinal cannabis products can now be exported from Australia, the cannabis plant — the flowers and leaves, as well as cannabis resin — cannot be exported. Some of the products approved for exporting are cannabis oils, sprays, patches, lozenges and tablets to assist with alleviating pain.

All exports must conform with the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967; among other requirements, companies must have both a licence and permit to export from the Office of Drug Control, and must be listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.

Furthermore, exports are only allowed when sending the material out of country would not be detrimental to Australia. That means companies wanting to export must be able to supply local residents first.

Australia's top cannabis export markets

Cannabis exports from Australia have been legal for around three years now. So where have companies in the country been sending shipments of the drug? A few standout markets are:

  • Germany — The nation is one of the largest cannabis markets in Europe, and relies heavily on imports to satiate growing demand. It receives products from companies such as Australia's Little Green Pharma (ASX:LGP), which in 2019 was the first Australian producer to successfully export medicinal cannabis to Germany.
  • UK — Little Green Pharma also began exporting medicinal cannabis oil to the UK in 2020. The company said at the time that it was the first Australian company to do so. Distribution is through the UK's Astral Health.
  • South Africa — CannaPacific and Health House International (ASX:HHI) teamed up in 2020 to become the first to export medicinal cannabis products to South Africa.

Recent developments in Australian cannabis exports

Looking at Australia's more recent cannabis export activities, privately owned Australian Natural Therapies Group (ANTG) sent its first batch of medicinal cannabis to Germany in January of this year.

The shipment was part of a $92 million export agreement that Australian Minister for Health Greg Hunt has said has the potential to boost economic growth in Australia.

"Australia's gold-standard regulation of medicinal cannabis products, coupled with a premium agricultural and manufacturing industry, means we are well positioned to become a preferred supplier," he noted.

The German cannabis market is reportedly the third largest in the world, and the decade-long agreement will see about 2 tonnes of locally grown and dried cannabis flower exported by mid-2022.

In April, ANTG announced a merger with Canada's Asterion Cannabis. Together, the two companies aim to build a large $400 million cannabis farm in Queensland, near Toowoomba's Wellcamp Airport. The close location will allow for large-scale exports of commercially grown medical cannabis to Europe.

Asterion also previously revealed plans to list on the Toronto Stock Exchange in the fall of 2021.

The future of cannabis exports in Australia

Since cannabis exports were first legalised, Australia has made an effort to keep moving forward.

In December 2019, the federal government granted major project status for the development of new medicinal cannabis facilities in Queensland and Victoria.

Karen Andrews, minister of industry, science and technology, said at the time that the market's size could reach $1.2 billion industry over the next decade.

"Australia's trusted reputation for medical products combined with our top quality agriculture sector will propel this new domestic industry into the global market," she said.

"By acting now and fast-tracking medicinal cannabis facilities, we have an opportunity to create an entirely new industry with tremendous export potential."

Since then, the country has amended laws in a bid to position its cannabis and hemp exporters to thrive after COVID-19. Speaking when the changes were made in mid-2020, Minister of Agriculture David Littleproud said they would broaden legislation to allow for certification of medical marijuana and hemp exports.

"This bill will enable the growth of export markets for hemp and medicinal cannabis industries. The bill will support the initiatives of the government to reduce red tape, bust congestion in regulation and enable agricultural industries to come out firing, after the threat of COVID-19 has passed," he explained.

With government support and companies continuing to develop their overseas strategies, Australia's cannabis export market will be one to watch in the future.

Don't forget to follow @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Ronelle Richards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

How to Access Medical Cannabis in Australia

Recreational cannabis remains out of reach in Australia, but the country legalised medical cannabis in 2016, opening up access to the cannabis market for both Australians and investors alike.

Cannabis in Australia is used to treat a myriad of conditions, from epilepsy to neuropathic pain, but federal legislation has a strict hold on the distribution of cannabis in the country.

Patients can only receive medicinal cannabis products via a specialist and then may have to wait up to a month for government approval. However, there are signs that the limits to access are slowly lessening, including the approval of over-the-counter cannabidiol (CBD) products and new breakthroughs in government-sponsored medical cannabis research.

Keep reading... Show less

Australia Mining Update: H1 2021 in Review

Click here to read the previous Australia mining update.

After an uncertain 2020 for the Australian mining industry, the resource market showed signs of a sharp recovery in the first six months of the new year.

Prices for iron ore are supporting resource exports in the country, with many ASX-listed mining companies also posting gains year-to-date.

Here the Investing News Network looks at what's happened in Australia's mining sector so far in 2021, and what could be ahead in the second half.

Keep reading... Show less

Investing in Lithium in Australia

After the country became the world’s largest lithium producer in 2018, many market participants are wondering if investing in lithium in Australia is a good option

Without a doubt, the energy revolution is here to stay, with forecasts for electric vehicle (EV) sales increasing every day. As a result, demand for lithium, a key element in the lithium-ion batteries used to power electric cars, is expected to triple by 2025 — reaching about 1 million tonnes in size.

For investors interested in getting into the space, here’s a brief overview of the basic facts to know about investing in lithium in Australia, including what stocks to keep an eye on.

Keep reading... Show less

How to Buy Bitcoin in Australia

Investors looking for decentralised assets (and potentially major gains) in a post-COVID-19 Australia are turning in droves to cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin in particular is getting Aussies excited after its price hit record highs in March 2021, and again the next month. As a finite resource, its volatility is proving exciting for many market watchers.

For those interested in jumping into the space, the Investing News Network has put together a step-by-step guide on how to start buying bitcoin in Australia — and how to stay safe while doing so.

Keep reading... Show less

Nickel Stocks in Western Australia

Nickel gets a lot of love these days. Besides its applications as a base metal, it's discovering a rising popularity as an electric vehicle metal thanks to its role in battery technology.

Nickel is a vital component in lithium-ion batteries, which are seeing "hockey stick"-like production rates around the world as electric vehicles become more prevalent.

According to the Australian government, the country holds around 19.7 million tonnes in economic demonstrated reserves of the metal, making it a top nation for nickel reserves, as well as a top nation for nickel production with 180,000 tonnes produced in 2019.

Keep reading... Show less

SHAREHOLDER ALERT: WeissLaw LLP Investigates Square, Inc.

WeissLaw LLP is investigating possible breaches of fiduciary duty and other violations of law by the board of directors of Square, Inc. (“Square”) (NYSE: SQ) in connection with the Company’s proposed acquisition of Afterpay Limited (“Afterpay” or the “Company”) (ASX: APT). Under the terms of the agreement, Square will issue shares of Square’s Class A common stock to Afterpay shareholders, who will receive 0.375 shares of Square stock for each Afterpay share they own. The transaction is valued at approximately $29 billion .

Keep reading... Show less

Australia Resource Investing 101

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve seen some of the recent buzz around Australia as a destination for resource investment and potential profit.

Australia ranks as the 13th largest economy in the world, due in no small part to its mineral largess. Between 2010 and 2020, mining contributed an impressive 10.4 percent to Australia’s economy, translating to a gross domestic product of AU$202 billion.

The country is a global mining hotspot, and its abundant natural resources and government incentives have attracted some of the mining industry’s biggest names: BHP (ASX:BHP,LSE:BHP,NYSE:BHP), Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO,LSE:RIO,NYSE:RIO) and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM,OTC Pink:NCMGF).

Keep reading... Show less

Blackstone Board Approves Pilot Plant and Ta Khoa Refinery DFS

Following compelling outcomes from the Ta Khoa Refinery (TKR) Pre-Feasibility Study (refer ASX announcement 26 July 2021), Blackstone Minerals ("Blackstone" or the "Company") Board of Director's have approved the first phase of pilot plant work and the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for the TKR.

Keep reading... Show less

Elevate Uranium: Carbon Free Energy

Elevate Uranium Limited (ASX:EL8) specializes in identifying, exploring and acquiring highly prospective uranium projects in Australia and Namibia. With a management team having more than 60 years of experience in the uranium sector, the company is the largest tenement holder for uranium in Namibia, which is the fourth-highest uranium-producing country in the world as of 2019.

Keep reading... Show less

Galaxy Resources Limited Announcement

Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX: GXY) ( Company ) advises that the following announcement has been made to the Australian Securities Exchange which appears on the Company’s platform (ASX):

  • Change in directors interest notice – MR

The announcement can be viewed at:

Keep reading... Show less

SHAREHOLDER ALERT: WeissLaw LLP Investigates Afterpay Limited

WeissLaw LLP is investigating possible breaches of fiduciary duty and other violations of law by the board of directors of Afterpay Limited (“Afterpay” or the “Company”) (ASX: APT) in connection with the Company’s proposed acquisition by Square, Inc. (“Square”) (NYSE: SQ) by way of a Scheme of Arrangement. Under the terms of the agreement, Afterpay shareholders will receive 0.375 shares of Square stock for each Afterpay share they own, representing implied per-share merger consideration of approximately $92.72 based upon Square’s July 30, 2021 closing price of $247.26 . Square may elect to pay 1% of total consideration in cash. The transaction is valued at approximately $29 billion .

Keep reading... Show less

Top News

Related News