Australian Government Improves Medical Cannabis Export Legislation

Medical cannabis exports from Australia

Australia’s Export Control Amendment (Certificate of Narcotics Exports) Bill 2020 is to improve access to global markets for the nation’s medicinal cannabis and hemp industries.

In 2018, Australia’s Federal Government decided to permit the export of medical cannabis products. But according to Freshleaf Analytics, the lack of phytosanitary certification hampered progress.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment web site states phytosanitary certificates are government-to-government certificates certifying plants and plant products:

  • have been inspected according to appropriate procedures; and/or
  • have been tested according to appropriate procedures; and/or
  • are sourced from particular pest free areas; and/or
  • are considered to be free from the quarantine pests or diseases specified by the importing country.

.. so, they are pretty important documents.

The new bill, which passed the Senate last Wednesday, broadens current legislation certifying agricultural exports to allow for certification of legitimate exports of narcotic products, including medical cannabis and low-THC hemp*.

“In the past year we have seen producers wanting to export to markets that need Australian Government certification – this Bill means exporters can now access those markets and have the confidence to invest in this industry, said Federal Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud. “The industry will be able to export markets in South-East Asia, China, Canada and the lucrative US market.”

In the second reading of the Bill, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Senator Kristina Keneally welcomed the intentions of it; but said Australia should be doing much more to harness the full potential medical cannabis and hemp.

With regard to hemp:

Labor encourages the growth and development of the hemp industry. It should be legal to ingest, cultivate and produce hemp products in all states in Australia.”

Well, it already is – but various strict rules and regulations make aspects of the above very challenging.

With regard to medical cannabis, Senator Keneally said:

“It is also time to remove unnecessary regulatory barriers to medicinal cannabis, starting with responding to the recommendations made by the Senate Community Affairs References Committee.

* There’s actually no such thing as “low-THC” hemp; as hemp by definition is low-THC. High-THC hemp is considered marijuana or medical cannabis; depending on the situation. However, in Australia even low-THC hemp can be considered medical cannabis if it is being grown for extraction of cannabidiol.