Tough start to 2020…
With the worst bushfire season in a generation followed swiftly by some of the strictest lockdown measures in the world to combat COVID-19, it’s been a rough start to 2020 for many Australians. Fortunately for proponents of medicinal cannabis, it’s not all doom and gloom – the year has produced a steady stream of good news regarding the legality and accessibility of medicinal cannabis down under.
ACT first out of the blocks
January saw new cannabis cultivation and possession laws take effect in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The new laws allow territory residents aged 18 or older to grow cannabis plants at home, with a limit of two plants per person, and four per household. While the new legislation contradicts federal laws against cultivation and does little to regulate supply chains (notably parallel with the ongoing states’ rights battle over cannabis in America), it’s undoubtedly a step in the right direction – and cements Canberra’s place as leading Australia in progressive drug policy reform.
Many Australian businesses are taking note, with a massive 30 cannabis companies already listed on the ASX.
Could cannabis offer a post-corona economic bounce?
What might some of these industry leaders have to look forward to? Well, According to a new report by cannabis research group, Prohibition Partners, The Oceania cannabis market could be worth up to US$1.55 billion by 2024. Just one of the ways we’re seeing obvious growth is the increasing monthly number of approved SAS applications.
The “Special Access Scheme” (SAS) is notoriously cumbersome, yet currently the only means of accessing medicinal cannabis in the country. But March had a record 3,962 SAS applications approved, the most in any month since the scheme began in 2017. The Department of Health stated recently that patient numbers have increased by more than 600% in the last year.
There’s also good cause to be optimistic about CBD. Last week, The Therapeutic Goods Administration announced they’re considering rescheduling CBD from a Schedule 4 to Schedule 3 drug. This would allow for the sale of pure CBD (with 2% or less of other cannabinoids) to adults, dramatically reducing red tape around accessibility for the latest breakthrough in health and wellness.