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Australian Medical Cannabis Production Statistics Revealed

Statistics on cannabis-related activities regulated by Australia’s Office of Drug Control (ODC) are now available online.

The ODC is part of the Federal Australian Government’s Department of Health and Aged Care, and regulates controlled drugs – including medicinal cannabis – using licences and permits.

On Thursday, the agency announced it had launched a cannabis data webpage, offering information on the quantity of medicinal cannabis imported, exported, produced, and held in stock in Australia.

Some highlights:

  • Total quantity of cannabis imported (kilograms) – 2021: 7,173 | 2022: 24,887
  • Total quantity of cannabis exported (kilograms) – 2021: 1,426 | 2022: 1,510
  • Total quantity of cannabis produced in Australia (kilograms) – 2021: 16,700 | 2022: 24,900
  • Total quantity of cannabis stock held (kilograms) – 2021: 17,700 | 2022: 15,400

The jump in imports from 2021 to 2022 is significant – more than three times the weight was imported in 2022 compared to 2021.

Australia’s biggest source of overseas-supplied cannabis was Canada by a huge margin. Last year, 21,201 kilograms of cannabis was sourced from Canada, followed by Denmark at 868 kilograms and then Germany (858 kilograms). Australia’s biggest export destinations in 2022 were Germany (935 kilograms), followed by the UK (407 kilograms).

What appears to be missing from the ODC’s statistics are figures for non-plant material cannabis products such as oils and edibles.

The Office of Drug Control says statistics for 2023 will not be available until the third quarter of next year.

Legislation was passed in Australia to enable the “safe, legal and reliable” supply of medicinal cannabis products in early 2016. The ODC first released regulations relating to cultivation and production of medical cannabis in October that year.

Since 1992 and up to the end of 2022, there had been 326,049 SAS-B application approvals in Australia – the pathway most commonly used for patients accessing medical cannabis.

The vast majority of the applications occurred in just the past few years, and  in 2022 there were 118,340 SAS-B medical cannabis applications. 2021’s figure was higher – approximately 122,000. The drop was most likely due to reforms the Therapeutic Goods Administration introduced requiring fewer approvals under some circumstances.

Terry Lassitenaz
Terry Lassitenaz writes exclusively for Hemp Gazette and has done so since the site launched in 2015. He has a special interest in the political arena relating to medical cannabis, particularly in Australia, and addressing the many myths surrounding this incredibly useful plant. You can contact Terry here.

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