Australians are expected to consume at least 8,000 kg of medical cannabis. In the first year of legalized marijuana, if this amount will be produced, the estimated cost is about $100 million. This was revealed in a study conducted by the University of Sydney.
The Australian parliament in February had passed a law permitting cultivation of cannabis for medical use in the country. However, its regulations for licensed production are still underway.
In the white paper, jointly produced by the University of Sydney Business School and cannabis company, MGC Pharmaceuticals, Australia’s emerging cannabis market has been compared with countries like Israel and Canada.
It noted that legalising medical cannabis would help thousands of Australian patients to cure epilepsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain. The paper, “Medicinal Cannabis in Australia: Science, Regulation and Industry” is considered unique in having examined the economics of the local medicinal cannabis industry.
The study also used data from existing legalized marijuana markets such as Israel, Canada and the Netherlands, reports News Corp.
The president of Tilray, a Canadian firm, predicted that medical marijuana would become a billion-dollar industry and can create thousands of skilled jobs. Globally the medicinal cannabis market has a size of $250 billion.
According to the researchers, the annual demand in Australia would be around 8500 kilograms a year. As production zooms to that level, an industry worth more than $100 million would take shape even in the very first year of legalization.
Associate lecturer Michael Katz said the lower figure in the study pertains to the first year only.
“We’re talking $100 million in year one, that’s the latent demand that’s already there,” he said.
Rhys Cohen, the lead researcher, said at least 10,000 Australians have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He added that those patients would greatly benefit from cannabis-based treatments.
Australian medicinal cannabis company AusCann stated that in the next three years it would be ready to export 10 tons of medical cannabis to Canada, valued around $75 million, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.