Australian state cuts red tape to boost medical marijuana access

The most populous state in Australia is making it easier for doctors to prescribe medical marijuana, opening the door to faster growth in the country’s MMJ industry.

Australia’s medical market has seen anemic growth due in part to separate regulations at the state and federal government level limiting patient access.

New South Wales, however, is implementing a single application process to replace separate state and federal approvals.

If other states follow the lead of New South Wales, the industry could be in store for significant growth.

Under the new rules, doctors in the state who want to prescribe medical marijuana could get approval to do so within 36 hours.

The state approved only 73 requests to treat patients with MMJ between Aug. 1, 2016, and Feb. 12, 2018, according to data released March 2.

Greg Hunt, Australia’s minister of health, said state and federal governments have “taken a machete” to red tape to boost patient access to medical cannabis, according to Agence France-Presse.

New South Wales, which includes Sydney, has about one-third of Australia’s population.

Canadian-headquartered companies have a lot to gain from Australia’s expanding medical marijuana market.

Companies that have already deployed millions of dollars there include Canopy GrowthCronos Group, Aphria, Aurora, PUF Ventures and MedReleaf.

Matt Lamers can be reached at [email protected]

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