Organic domestic growth, access to export markets and the scaling up and commercialisation of Australian cannabis companies will drive growth in the sector, according to a “roadmap” drawn up by Medicinal Cannabis Industry Australia (MCIA).

As well as outlining the opportunities for the sector, the paper identifies the “strategic levers” that need to be pulled for it to capitalise on them.

The MCIA’s roadmap draws on the views of stakeholders including licensed companies, R&D organisations, medical groups and prescribers, patient advocates and government.

It has been drawn from a larger piece of research undertaken by MCIA for the Victorian Government Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions which reviewed the impact of the state’s Medicinal Cannabis Industry Development Plan (IDP) and identified areas for future focus by the government. 

The IDP review included consultation with 30 mostly Victorian stakeholders — licensed companies, R&D organisations, medical groups and prescribers, patient advocates and government.

The roadmap includes views from stakeholders on how the medicinal cannabis landscape has changed over the past five years, the opportunities and challenges facing the industry, and insights into its current and future needs. 

Its aim is to inform policy and investment decisions which fuel the sector’s growth.

MCIA chair Peter Crock said: “This report provides a great resource for the industry and will assist MCIA engagement around opportunities and challenges with state and federal governments, the healthcare sector, industry stakeholders, and across the medicinal cannabis ecosystem. 

MCIA chair Peter Crock

“It will help inform the industry’s strategic planning and importantly identifies the strategic levers that will drive growth.”

“The industry requires a ‘patient-first’ focus. A demand-led approach requires improved patient access and developing export capabilities, but also, importantly, addressing the regulatory barriers for companies, healthcare professionals, researchers and patients to expand access, improve affordability and drive industry growth.”

He added: “The recent reforms to ensure that all products meet GMP standards, along with Office of Drug Control reforms to licences and permits, are critical steps to assist in delivering improved access for patients to Australian products, underpinned by Australian quality, in a timely and affordable manner.

“It is critical that, as an industry, we provide the stewardship and evidential support to see medicinal cannabis become part of mainstream healthcare options available to patients.”

To view the roadmap, click here.

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...