Federal health minister Greg Hunt has said government reforms have helped the Australian medicinal cannabis sector grow to be worth $1.8 billion, but called on the industry to work with him to deliver further growth domestically and overseas.

Opening the PharmOut Medicinal Cannabis Conference this morning, Hunt said legalisation in 2016, an emergency national inventory to support patients and faster regulatory pathways had allowed new products, providers and developers into the Australian market.

Health minister Greg Hung said the industry has the ‘gold standard’ for safety and quality

However, he said it was the decision to open up exports that had underpinned the growth of many Australian firms, who are benefitting from the tough regulatory environment at home to forge a reputation overseas for the highest safety and quality standards.

“The fact that we have the world’s highest standards, although it can be tough initially, ultimately means we have the gold standard for safety and quality and that’s recognised internationally,” he said.

Hunt said the domestic market will grow but “in line with prescriber practice, as it should be”. He added the Government’s task now is to help the industry register more products and develop the domestic market.

He told delegates: “I’m open to your ideas. What are the next steps that you need to see from the Australian Government? I may not accept all of them, but I want to hear the ideas.”

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