Australian cultivators have called on medicinal cannabis firms to support local growers as the capacity, quality and diversity of home-grown supply continue to build.

Emily Rigby

Speaking during Medicinal Cannabis Awareness Week (MCAW), Australian Cannabis Cultivators chair Emily Rigby said: “In an industry flooded with imported medicines, it’s so important that we support and promote Australian-grown cannabis.”

Last week it emerged that Hop Latent Viroid (HLVd), a disease with the potential to seriously damage crops, has surfaced in Australia.

Rigby said the Australian Cannabis Cultivators (ACC) group was formed late last year to support growers and that the issue will be raised in its next meeting. 

She added: “Our ACC group chat on Slack has been sharing information on HLVd including what samples need to be sent for testing.”

While reforms to TGO93, which came into force on July 1, 2023, aimed to level the playing field between local and international suppliers, Cann Group’s Mildura cultivation manager Angus Murray said there were other reasons to support the domestic industry.

“Until recently, the industry faced challenges with local production and prestige,” he said. “Now, with capacity on Australian shores, medicinal cannabis businesses must assess if imported material surpasses locally cultivated cannabis in niche fulfilment, quality, diversity and sustainability. 

“Mapping the value stream, domestic cropping wins every time – it reduces supply-chain complexities, and fewer shipping disruptions give local producers a clear edge.

“Beyond just national pride, supporting good-quality local growers contributes to economic output, job creation, and transferable skills in the broader biotech, high-tech agriculture and pharmaceutical industry.”

Director at Medicinal Harvest Andrew Olley said local supply would also help reduce the stigma around the medicine, one of the key aims of MCAW.

“Australian cultivators play an important role in removing the stigma surrounding medicinal cannabis within Australian society,” he said. “Domestic cultivation by agricultural experts, typically in high-tech facilities, demonstrates the professionalism of the industry. 

“The public can be assured that Australian cultivation of medicinal cannabis is in safe hands, contributing positively to the needs of patients.”

Max Edgley, Tasmanian Botanics

Meanwhile, Tasmanian Botanics head of cultivation Max Edgley said Awareness Week was “a great chance to shine a light on the benefits of this plant and the positive impact it can have on our communities, as well as to highlight the passion and dedication of those involved in the industry”. 

Rigby added: “It’s great to see MCAW engaging the broader community, including patients, healthcare practitioners, researchers, industry stakeholders, and policymakers alongside our growers.”

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. This is one of the most refreshing initiatives of 2024, and it’s great to see @emilyrigby getting traction.

    Along with the establishment of a nationally accredited cannabis cultivation curriculum through Federation TAFE, these are the moves that are going to bring Australia to the front of the global market.