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When Will Australia Legalise Recreational Cannabis?

Will Australia legalise recreational cannabis? It’s a burning question for many investors, but for now the answer isn’t clear.

Recreational cannabis remains illegal in all Australia’s states and territories with the exception of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). But could that change in the future?

So far there are no clear indicators as to when or if Australia could legalise recreational cannabis, but attitudes seem to be changing. Public support is growing, and there’s even some political acceptance.

Read on to learn more about when Australia may legalise recreational cannabis.


Public support for legalisation growing

Australians are no strangers to cannabis — a recently updated report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that marijuana is the most extensively used illicit substance in the country.

With that in mind, it’s perhaps unsurprising that views on cannabis are changing in the country. In 2019, Australia’s National Drug Strategy Household Survey found that 41 percent of Australians are in favour of legalising cannabis — that’s close to double the support seen when the survey was done in 2007.

Aside from that, legalisation has been recommended by a number of government inquiries, including a 2019 Queensland Productivity Commission report on imprisonment and recidivism.

Several states have decriminalised personal use of cannabis on private property, including the ACT, the Northern Territory (NT) and South Australia. Most other states have a discretionary almost de facto decriminalisation in place through police diversion programs.

Those arrested for small amounts of under 50 grams of cannabis can be diverted to drug counselling or education, or issued a fine rather than a criminal conviction.

Economic opportunities lie in legalisation

Although Australia’s economy ended 2020 on a high note after facing COVID-19-related setbacks, some experts believe cannabis legalisation could assist even further with economic growth.

The climate of the NT and its accessibility to Asia makes the likelihood of legalised marijuana a possible gold mine for the NT, according to economist Rolf Gerritsen.

“The Government, if it licensed the system and appointed official sales points, could actually set up a nice little industry with the possibility of future exports,” Gerritsen told ABC News.

In 2020, Australia’s economy plunged into its first recession in three decades due to fallout from the coronavirus, which came mere months after devastating bushfires that ravaged over 12 million hectares.

During the fall, a Twitter campaign from the Australian Greens political party pushed for legalisation to help pull the nation out of its recession, declaring cannabis a “multi-billion dollar industry.”

Federal cannabis legalisation unlikely

Although exciting, it seems unlikely that the Australian government will legalise marijuana at this stage.

Outside the Twitter campaign mentioned above, legalisation of cannabis has been a big part of the platform for the Greens, which are seeking the establishment of a controlled market for the sale of cannabis and would allow members of the public to grow up to six plants.

But the Greens are currently the only political party pushing for legalisation of recreational cannabis.

Both the Liberal National Party and Australian Labor Party have only shown support for medicinal cannabis at a federal level. In fact, Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter has been vocally opposed to the legalisation in Canberra, declaring the laws “terrible” and saying state- and territory-level laws conflict with federal laws on possession.

Many were looking towards the outcome of a New Zealand referendum on legalisation that failed as 50.7 percent voted “no” to the 48.4 percent “yes” votes.

What could legalisation do to the market?

A report from cannabis researcher Prohibition Partners hypothesizes great potential for Australia to significantly increase value through cannabis exports, while a focus on buying local could see more domestic cannabis revenue than ever before.

Success could encourage more regions to look closely at their own reform measures, particularly after watching the ACT’s adoption of restricted cannabis legalisation, the study argues.

“Both Victoria and Tasmania are also making moves towards more lenient cannabis laws and could be following in the ACT’s footsteps,” said the report’s authors.

“The Victorian government invested in R&D of the local industry, and is said to have ambitions to be the ‘cannabis bowl of Australia’ with a target of 500 local jobs.”

The report predicts the Australian cannabis market will break a total market value of US$1.5 billion by the year 2025, which would make it the largest legal cannabis market in Oceania. Eagle-eyed investors will be watching the market closely.

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.

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Zelira Therapeutics Ltd a global leader in the research and development of clinically validated cannabinoid medicines, is pleased to announce the US launch of the Zelira Dermatology Business’ first product line, RAF FIVE ™ through its dermatology subsidiary Ilera Derm LLC . The five-product RAF FIVE ™ line consists of the Wash Away Gel Cleanser Acne Treatment, Spot On Acne Treatment, Kick Off Hydrating Lotion …

Zelira Therapeutics Ltd (ASX: ZLD) (OTCQB: ZLDAF), a global leader in the research and development of clinically validated cannabinoid medicines, is pleased to announce the US launch of the Zelira Dermatology Business’ first product line, RAF FIVE ™ through its dermatology subsidiary Ilera Derm LLC (“Zelira Dermatology”).

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Highlights: Peak Processing Solutions subsidiary of Althea Group Holdings has entered into agreements with BBCCC, Inc., The Boston Beer Company and WeedMD Rx Inc., a subsidiary of Entourage Health Corp. Under the product development agreement, Peak will provide research and development services including laboratory support and the testing of various product formulations and recipes, for the new line of BBC products …

Highlights:

  • Peak Processing Solutions (Peak), subsidiary of Althea Group Holdings (ASX: AGH) (Althea) has entered into agreements with BBCCC, Inc., The Boston Beer Company (NYSE: SAM) (‘BBC’), and WeedMD Rx Inc., a subsidiary of Entourage Health Corp. (‘Entourage’)
  • Under the product development agreement, Peak will provide research and development services including laboratory support and the testing of various product formulations and recipes, for the new line of BBC products
  • BBC will provide Peak with funding of up to USD$2m for capital improvements associated with the development project. In addition, Peak will receive a minimum of USD$285,000 for each year of the Term of the agreement (totalling USD$1.42m )
  • Under the 5 year supply and manufacturing agreement, Peak is the exclusive manufacturer of all cannabis beverages produced or sold in Canada under BBC branding, for the term of the agreement
  • Entourage will be responsible for distribution and sales of the cannabis-infused beverages in Canada

Peak Processing Solutions, a subsidiary of Althea Group Holdings Limited (ASX: AGH) (‘Peak’ or ‘the Company’) is a leading developer, manufacturer, and distributor of cannabis infused edible, topical, and concentrate products is pleased to announce that the Company has entered into agreements with WeedMD Rx Inc., a subsidiary of (TSXV: ENTG) (OTCQX: WDDMF) (‘Entourage’) and BBCCC, Inc., a subsidiary of the Boston Beer Company Inc. (NYSE: SAM) (‘BBC’).

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Sydney, Australia – Medlab Clinical Ltd an Australian biotech using delivery platforms to enhance medicines is pleased to announce the execution of a Master Services Agreement with WEP Clinical Ltd for the exclusive development and delivery of Named Patient Programmes relating to the unlicensed supply of its proprietary NanaBis and NanoCBD to patients in the UK and Europe. This Master Services Agreement is the first …

Sydney, Australia (ABN Newswire) – Medlab Clinical Ltd (ASX.MDC), an Australian biotech using delivery platforms to enhance medicines is pleased to announce the execution of a Master Services Agreement (MSA) with WEP Clinical Ltd (WEP) for the exclusive development and delivery of Named Patient Programmes relating to the unlicensed supply of its proprietary NanaBis(TM) and NanoCBD(TM) to patients in the UK and Europe.

This Master Services Agreement is the first partnership for Medlab to supply their cannabinoid medications outside of its current Australian Special Access Scheme.

Dr Sean Hall, CEO of Medlab stated, “This is a major milestone for Medlab to begin supplying NanaBis(TM) and NanoCBD(TM) on prescription for the first time to patients outside Australia.”

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Schlachta Stanislav / Shutterstock

Looking for the best-performing cobalt stocks on the ASX? Here's a look at the three top gainers of 2021.

Cobalt prices have soared this past year, with investors paying more attention to this battery metal.

A large reason for cobalt’s bullish behaviour is that it is used to manufacture lithium-ion batteries, which power electric vehicles (EVs) — as demand for EVs continues to rise, it's likely cobalt demand will remain strong too.

Currently the future of EVs looks bright — the market is growing quickly and is expected to boom over the next decade. In the first half of 2021 alone, EV sales ballooned by 160 percent, and by the end of the year, a total of 15 countries had announced measures to begin transitioning toward an all-electric future.


The three top cobalt-producing countries worldwide are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Russia and Australia — the last of which is investing in ramping up its production of the metal.

With that in mind, which Australian cobalt miners gained the most value in 2021? Read on to learn more about the three best cobalt companies on the ASX by year-to-date share price gains. All information was obtained on December 30, 2021, using TradingView's stock screener.

1. Jervois Global

Year-to-date gain: 63.89 percent; current share price: AU$0.59

Jervois Global (ASX:JRV) is best known for its Finland operations, which produce cobalt for chemical, catalyst, pigment, powder metallurgy and — most significantly — battery applications. The company is currently in the process of launching its new Idaho Cobalt Operations (ICO) and is on track to become the first US cobalt miner.

On December 15, Jervois announced an update on ICO, saying first ore is expected in August 2022, with sustainable production expected by December 2022. The estimated capital expenditure required to stay on schedule has risen to US$99.1 million, up from US$92.6 million, with mine engineering 64 percent complete.

2. Cobalt Blue Holdings

Year-to-date gain: 177.78 percent; current share price: AU$0.50

Cobalt Blue Holdings (ASX:COB) is a rare cobalt-only company, and defines itself by its planned ethical and sustainable extraction and production processes. The firm's flagship New South Wales-based Broken Hill project is slated to produce an average of 3,500 to 3,600 tonnes per year of cobalt once in operation.

In December 2021, Cobalt Blue Holdings announced it has executed a memorandum of understanding with the State of Queensland, acting through the Department of Resources, to assess opportunities for the recovery of cobalt (as well as any coexisting base and precious metals) from mine waste.

3. Australian Mines

Year-to-date gain: 31.25 percent; current share price: AU$0.21

Australian Mines (ASX:AUZ) is aiming to supply metals to the growing EV industry, with a focus on ethical and sustainable production. Its flagship Queensland-based Sconi nickel-cobalt project boasts a mine life of over 30 years and will be capable of processing 2 million tonnes of ore annually.

In late October, Australian Mines reported on its quarterly activities, including an agreement for Korea-based LG Energy Solution, a top global producer of EV batteries, to buy 100 percent of the Sconi project’s nickel-cobalt hydroxide output over an initial six year term. The future agreement indicates that LG Energy Solution will buy a projected 7,000 tonnes of cobalt from Australian Mines over the six year period.

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

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

Australia’s tech sector is making headway on an international level. Learn about the Australia tech outlook and what’s next in the country.

Australia’s technology sector is garnering attention with advancements in fintech, cleantech and gaming, among other exciting industries.

The country’s characteristically resilient economy — which had not experienced a recession in nearly 30 years prior to COVID-19 lockdowns — has provided a sturdy backdrop for its growing tech sector. As economies worldwide face uncertainty, Australia’s job market continues to defy global trends.

In fact, as COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, Australia’s employment level rose by a record 366,100 jobs in November 2021, surpassing projections of a 205,000 turnaround, as per a Reuters report.


Australia tech outlook: Strong international players

With Australia’s strong economy in mind, companies at an international scale have been securing footholds in the country’s technology market in recent years.

For instance, Japanese tech conglomerate Softbank (OTC Pink:SFTBY,TSE:9984) began investing in Australia in 2016 via the acquisition of AI and robotics firm ST Solutions. ST Solutions' flagship robot, Pepper, can greet customers in 21 languages using emotional response analytics. Pepper is at the forefront of Softbank’s robot initiatives.

Similarly, in April 2019, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) launched its inaugural commercial drone delivery system in North Canberra, Australia. The service — called Wing — delivers food, coffee and retail items by drone to residences. Orders are placed through a mobile app.

More recently, Google announced plans to invest AU$1 billion in Australia over the next five years, including in tech startups and a regional research hub in Sydney. "Australia can help lead the world's next wave of innovation, harnessing technology to improve lives, create jobs, and make progress," Google CEO Sundar Pichai said.

Some of the biggest names in global tech are also taking positions in Aussie-grown tech startups. In May 2020, Chinese gaming and social media firm Tencent Holdings (OTC Pink:TCHEY,HKEX:0700) bought a 5 percent stake in Australian buy now, pay later company Afterpay (ASX:APT,OTC Pink:AFTPF)

As these large tech companies invest in Australia, tech unicorns (startups with valuations of more than a billion dollars) have garnered attention. According to CB Insights, there are currently six Australian unicorn tech companies: Canva, Culture Amp, Judo Capital, Safety Culture, Go1, Pet Circle and Airwallex.

Design startup Canva is estimated to be worth US$40 billion. It has over 60 million monthly active users, and 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies use its services, including Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) and PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL). In May 2019, it acquired both Pexels and Pixabay, broadening its stock photo subscription model service. After securing US$200 million in funding in September 2021, the company has plans to double its workforce.

Australia tech outlook: Top tech trends

As mentioned, Australia’s current tech ecosystem is largely underpinned by the country’s advancements in three core sectors: fintech, cleantech and gaming.

According to Deloitte, the fintech sector in Australia is both maturing and scaling at a steady clip, making it ripe for investment. In its Technology Fast 50 2020 report, the firm highlights Half Dome, My Plan Manager and Autoguru as the top technology companies in Australia. For its part, EY reports that 58 percent of Australians used fintech applications in 2019, with the adoption rate rising 27 percent since 2017.

When it comes to cryptocurrencies, another part of the fintech landscape, Australian exchanges CoinJar and Coinspot allow users to buy and sell digital assets. In August 2019, the Gemini exchange also launched its services in Australia, offering users the ability to exchange bitcoin, bitcoin cash, zcash, litecoin and ether. A December 2021 EY report states that the country is on track to see its crypto market swell to up to 30 times its current size by 2030.

Emerging as a leader in the cleantech sector, Australia is making strides in renewable energy technology, such as wind and solar power, as well as energy storage. In early 2019, Melbourne began using wind to power 100 percent of its municipal infrastructure, such as universities, town halls and street lights.

In Queensland, Genex Power began construction of its 250 megawatt Kidston pumped hydro project in 2021. The company secured a government loan of up to AU$610 million to move the project forward. Meanwhile, as part of a 10 year deal, members of the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project will purchase 88 gigawatt hours of wind power annually from Pacific Hydro; the deal has resulted in the creation of nearly 150 new jobs. Fast Company notes that this new business model has spurred renewable energy contracts from several large corporations in Australia.

As Australia makes formative moves in renewable energy, it is also showing explosive growth in the gaming and esports sectors. PwC expects revenue for Australia’s games and esports market hit AU$3.41 billion in 2020.

Australia is home to a number of ASX-listed esports companies, including: Esports Mogul (ASX:ESH), Emerge Gaming (ASX:EM1), iCandy Interactive (ASX:ICI), Kneomedia (ASX:KNM,OTCQB:KNEOF) and SportsHero (ASX:SHO,OTC Pink:NIROF). Further expanding the esports investment opportunities in Australia, the ASX now has an esports-focused exchange-traded fund, the VanEck Vectors Video Gaming and Esports ETF (ASX:ESPO).

As the esports sector continues to expand, it has attracted international partnerships. In 2018, Riot Games, publisher of League of Legends and Valorant, partnered with the Australian Football League and brought an esports event to the Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne, a stadium that seats 4,000. In the summer of 2020, Ubisoft Australia extended its partnership with XP Esports Australia for seasons two and three of the XP Women’s League, as well as the new High School League Rainbow Six competition.

In 2022, Australian esports fans can look forward to the country's first DreamHack festival, an international immersive gaming lifestyle experience first launched in 1994. The three day event will take place in Melbourne, and will feature professional tournaments, as well as “the biggest range of e-sports and gaming content ever seen at an Australian festival," reported Esports Grizzly.

Australia tech outlook: What’s ahead

Looking ahead, PwC expects the Australian gaming and esports market to reach AU$4.9 billion by 2025. The forecasted growth is attributed to app-based games and in-app purchases in a market saturated with smartphone ownership and improved monetisation strategies for increased revenue from mobile games.

Deloitte has made several predictions for the future of tech in Australia. The major sectors the firm sees leading the way forward include on-demand video streaming services, gaming consoles, semiconductor chips, fixed wireless access, private 5G and wearable medical devices.

For its part, the Tech Council of Australia states that the number of workers in the country’s technology field will increase by 286,000 between 2021 and 2025 to reach over 1 million employed in the industry.

It's clear that the capital markets recognised this growing demand early on. In mid-2019, ABC News reported that the ASX was aiming to become an epicentre for tech listings, and over the past few years it has focused on recruiting more late-stage tech companies to access greater pools of capital.

Underscoring this growth are key economic factors. Australia’s economy is recovering from COVID-19 lockdowns. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), “as the recovery continues, labour market conditions will improve and spare capacity will be absorbed.” The OECD is calling for real gross domestic product to grow by 3.8 percent in 2021, 4.1 percent in 2022 and 3 percent in 2023.

What’s more, the wave of initial public offerings (IPOs) that swept Australia’s tech industry in late 2020 continued throughout 2021, with newly listed companies such as Airtasker (ASX:ART) and PEXA (ASX:PXA) amassing initial valuations of AU$255 million and AU$3 billion, respectively. Tech listings are expected to underpin IPOs on the ASX in 2022, and are anticipated to include buy now, pay later business Beforepay, marketplace technology firm Marketplacer and healthcare technology business Careteq.

This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing News Network in 2019.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time news updates!

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