Australia expected to become world's top medicinal cannabis supplier: health minister

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Australia will get the green light to start exporting medicinal cannabis products and the federal health minister hopes it can become the world's top supplier.

Australia's budding medicinal cannabis sector is set for a major windfall after winning approval to begin exports.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said allowing medicinal cannabis product exports will help the developing domestic market to grow.

"By helping the domestic manufacturers to expand, this, in turn, helps to ensure an ongoing supply of medicinal cannabis products here in Australia," Mr Hunt said in a statement.

He hopes Australia can be the world's top supplier of medicinal cannabis.

 

The export permit will be done by regulation.

The federal government in 2016 legalised patient access to Australian-grown and manufactured medicinal cannabis, subject to state and territory regulations.

Victoria became Australia's first state to legalise cannabis for medical use and was quickly followed by NSW.

The federal health department says 350 patients have accessed Australian-grown medicinal cannabis products.

However, there are some concerns doctors are reluctant to prescribe the products.

Opposition frontbencher Anthony Albanese said it was a "sensible move forward" for Australia to export medicinal cannabis products.

"We know that medicinal use of cannabis can alleviate people's health issues and, therefore, if Australia's in a position to provide support, it should do so," he told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday.

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