Australia is well-known for its marvelous landscape, unique wildlife, and bustling cities. However, the country is set to make waves in yet another avenue- cannabis!
This makes sense considering that Australia has some of the worlds’ best agricultural practices, including robust quality control measures and stellar crop safety management.
The Asian cannabis market is expected to reach a market cap of $5.8 billion in 2024 alone, and Australia boasts an ideal climate for growing the plant with a favorable natural light-cycle and sufficient rain levels.
One company that’s making the most of Australia’s impending cannabis boom is Greenfield-EPHS which is a grow operation slated for development in Queensland. The company aims to provide over 200 jobs in the area, including security workers, farmworkers, lab workers, and more by 2020.
Greenfield MC became Greenfield EPHS after merging with US-Canadian startup Emerald Plants Health Resources, hence the EPHS.
Through a joint venture enterprise, the two companies seek to establish a growing facility in Queensland. The yield from this operation will supply the Asia-Pacific market as a whole.
EPHS is listed on the OTC stock exchange, which is based in New York. The company has a license to not only grow but to distribute marijuana in Canada, and now they have an opportunity to penetrate the emerging Asia-Pacific market.
According to Cannvalate, Cannabis Farms is another fast-growing startup that’s aimed at providing a platform to reduce barriers to entry and streamline operations for emerging growers.
The cannabis industry in Australia
In addition to celebrity endorsements, the marijuana industry in Australia is gaining traction with the country’s medical fraternity. Even Greenfield-EPHS has enlisted the help of oncology specialist Dr. Sree Appu from the Monash Cancer Centre in Melbourne as the chairman of the company’s medical board as well as its chief medical officer.
Since the Australian market is mostly acquainted with marijuana as a medical product, it only makes sense that all of the major players are dotting their T’s by aligning with top medical specialists.
Keep in mind that patients cannot receive medical marijuana without a prescription which means doctors and pharmacists must be involved. This is to ensure that the proper clinical trials and research are done to facilitate better product development.
Not only that, but there’s an overwhelming body of evidence which shows the effectiveness of the plant at treating a wide range of ailments, from chronic pain to seizures, depression, and anxiety.
While it’s legal to take cannabis for medicinal purposes in Australia, and the next step is to legalize it for recreational use. Most of the existing suppliers have one of three licenses from the ACA:
- A manufacturing license with approval to manufacture the herb
- A license to conduct cannabis research
- A medical cannabis license which authorizes the holder to produce and/or cultivate the plant
It can take over six months for companies to acquire one of these licenses, but it opens up a world of opportunity for them in the industry.
Challenges: legislation and acceptance
New South Wales and Victoria are two of the most progressive states when it comes to the use of cannabis products. The only downside is that patients and doctors and forced to obtain approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration before getting a prescription. This process often takes weeks in many instances, but the growing number of cannabis clinics across the country is helping to alleviate the problem.
Another challenge facing the medical marijuana industry in Australia is the fact that most pharmacists and physicians don’t have the proper training required to prescribe the products.
Nevertheless, Australia’s cannabis industry is here to stay, and experts predict that about 3% of the population will be taking cannabis products as a form of treatment within the next two years.
Some of the biggest opportunities in Australia’s cannabis industry lie in cultivation, but this comes with strong barriers to entry in the form of expensive startup costs. Next, you have processing, which offers another huge opportunity to benefit from the increasing demand for products.
However, it shouldn’t be difficult for startups to overcome these challenges, considering just how robust the Australian economy is. In fact, it’s so stable that it’s one of the few countries that survived unscathed by the 2008 financial crisis. This provides a solid foundation for a booming market, such as the cannabis industry.