Australia aims for global domination of medicinal cannabis market

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Australian cannabis stocks surged following the government's announcement, with Auscann jumping more than 50% and rivals, including the Hydroponics Co. and Cann Group, rising over 30%.

"We would like to be, potentially, the world's number one medicinal cannabis supplier", Hunt said, according to The ABC.

The growth of weed Down Under is still relatively small as recreational use still remains illegal.

Other companies to benefit include Cann Group (35% increase), Creso Pharma (20%) and Bod Australia (39%).

AusCann managing director Elaine Darby described the decision as a win for Australian companies and patients.

"We have got an expansion plan that we went to market and raised capital specifically for that and it really allows confidence to move forward", he said.

He said it was likely there would be "more than enough" for both Australian patients and worldwide consumers. "In fact, by helping the domestic manufacturers to expand, this, in turn, helps to ensure an ongoing supply of medicinal cannabis products here in Australia".

Australia Health Minister, Greg Hunt, on Thursday said Australia would export medicinal cannabis to other countries after the government approved cannabis exports, the spokesman said. The proposal needs the federal parliament to approve it upon returning to session next month, but the main opposition Labor Party has already signaled its support.

Several other countries have legalised medicinal marijuana, including Canada, Israel, and more than half the U.S. states.

Australia's chief commodity forecaster does not publish data on cannabis production, but rough estimates by the University of Sydney estimated the legal industry at A$100 million ($78 million), well below the C$4 billion ($3.19 billion) that Canada estimates its market to be worth.

Victoria in 2016 became Australia's first state to legalise cannabis for medical use, quickly followed by NSW.

US consultancy company Grand View Research a year ago forecast the global medicinal cannabis market would be worth $55.8 billion by 2025.