Australian-grown medical cannabis clears key export hurdle for first time

(This story has been updated with more comments from ANTG’s CEO.)

Australia is one step closer to joining Canada and the Netherlands in the competitive medical cannabis export market.

New South Wales-based Australian Natural Therapeutics Group said its domestically produced cannabis has been listed on the Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG), clearing one of the most important hurdles before exports can occur.

Australian Natural Therapeutics Group (ANTG)’s product is the first locally cultivated medical cannabis in dried form to successfully list in the database, according to industry sources.

“The final document required is the export permit, which is being processed,” ANTG CEO Matthew Cantelo told Marijuana Business Daily.

He expects exports to commence by the end of the year.

The company aims to export two tons of medical cannabis in the coming year, starting with Germany.

Cantelo said the greatest demand will be from Germany and other markets in the EU in the coming years.

ANTG’s medical cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facility received Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification, which is a prerequisite to shipping medical marijuana to European markets.

“This is the first of many new Australian products that will be competing in the international marketplace. Alongside exponential growth in Australian patient approvals,” said Rhys Cohen, principal consultant for North Sydney-based data firm FreshLeaf Analytics.

“It’s a sign that our local producers are operational, and Australia is open for business.”

ANTG is also nearing a milestone in the Australian market.

Cantelo said the company is in discussions for local distribution, which he expects to begin before the end of the year.

“We will make our product available, first and foremost, to Australian patients,” he said, adding that ANTG “could probably service the entire Australian market at the current numbers.”

Almost all medical cannabis available for sale in regulated channels in Australia is imported, rendering prices prohibitively high for many patients.

Over a year ago, Little Green Pharma became the first Aussie company to locally grow and produce medical cannabis for sale in Australia.

The country’s Senate recently launched a formal inquiry into issues involving patient access to medical cannabis.

In late 2018, cumulative medical approvals surpassed the 2,000 mark for the first time.

Last month alone, the number of approvals was nearly 3,600.

Matt Lamers is Marijuana Business Daily’s international editor, based near Toronto. He can be reached at [email protected].

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