Population (m)24.6
GDP (US$ t)1.3
Total Healthcare Expenditure (US$ b, est.)133.4
Total Beauty & Wellbeing Expenditure (US$ b, est.)172.2
Alcohol Consumption (Litres Per Capita Per Year)10.6
Prevalence of Cannabis Users (%)10.2
Source: World Bank/ ABS/ WHO/ UNODC/ Prohibition Partners

In June 2015, the Lambert family donated $33.7 million to the University of Sydney, establishing the ‘Lambert Initiative’. This is the largest Australian medicinal cannabis research group, providing an invaluable boost to the development of treatments for childhood epilepsy, cancer, chronic pain, obesity, anorexia and dementia.

A 2016 University of Sydney report, Medicinal Cannabis in Australia: Science, Regulation & Industry, found that the Australian medicinal cannabis market, once opened up, could spark initial demand for as much as 8,000 kg of product.

Australia Cannabis Legalization

The Narcotic Drugs Amendment Bill was passed by the Australian Federal Government in February 2016, a milestone for medicinal cannabis in the country. In October 2016, the Narcotic Drugs Regulation 2016 was published, which adds a lot more detail. Several States and Territories have since amended and/or introduced new legislation and regulation.

In January 2018, Australia said it planned to become the fourth country in the world to legalize medicinal cannabis exports in a bid to score a piece of the estimated $57 billion global market. The export of medicinal cannabis products was legalized in February 2018 through the Narcotic Drugs Amendment (Cannabis) Regulations 2018.

Provided domestic supply of medicinal cannabis is not affected, the following products are eligible for export if granted a license and permit to export:

  • Medicinal cannabis products manufactured in Australia under a GMP license.
  • Medicinal cannabis products listed as export-only, or registered, on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG)
  • Extracts of cannabis (or extracts of cannabis resin) manufactured under a Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 license and permit that are not in the final dosage form.

Amendments to the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 (ND Act), which came into effect on 24 December 2021, introduced a single license model for regulating medicinal cannabis cultivation, production and/or manufacture activities. A medicinal cannabis license can authorize any or all of the following activities for medicinal or scientific purposes:

  • cultivation and/or production of cannabis plants, cannabis or cannabis resin
  • manufacture of a cannabis drug for one or more permitted supplies.

In September 2019, the Australian Capital Territory became the first state or territory of Australia to legalize recreational use of cannabis. Since 31 January 2020 residents have been allowed to grow two plants and possess 50 g, though sales or other transfer is prohibited, including cannabis seeds. Federal law also remains enforceable.

Australian Cannabis Market

In 2022, a total of 125 licenses were issued under the scheme: 47 medicinal cannabis licenses (commercial cultivation and production), 44 cannabis manufacture licenses and 34 importer licenses.

Through Dec. 31, 2022, doctors prescribed treatment for more than 140 different conditions. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved Special Access Scheme (SAS) applications including, but not limited to, the following indications:

  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
  • Refractory paediatric epilepsy
  • Palliative care indications
  • Cancer pain
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Spasticity from neurological conditions
  • Anorexia and wasting associated with chronic illness (such as cancer).

In 2017, roughly 457 patients accessed medical cannabis, rising to 2,983 in 2018, 25,138 patients in 2019 and to almost 83,000 patients in 2020. Up to 31 December 2022, the TGA has registered over 475,000 applications through the Authorised Prescriber scheme.

North Sydney-based data firm FreshLeaf Analytics estimated the Australian medical cannabis market to increase to about 95 million Australian dollars in product sales in 2020 from $30 million in 2019 and to be worth approximately $423 million in 2022 compared to $230 million in 2021.

Australia Cannabis Forecast

Cannabis Jobs Australia estimates there will be 50,000 cannabis jobs in Australia by 2028. Australia’s legal cannabis market is forecast to grow from $52 million in 2018 to $1.2 billion in 2027, the 5th largest in the world, according to the report “The Road Map to a $57 Billion Worldwide Market”.

In the Oceania Cannabis Report – produced by London-based advisory group Prohibition Partners – Australian cannabis market only in medical part is estimated to be worth up to $1.3b by 2028 while recreational part is about $3.5b.

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Australian Cannabis Market Infographics

Cannabis Cultivation Business Plan Sample, Australia

Australian Cannabis Market

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