MMJ gets serious in Australia

Published at Oct 23, 2015, in Biotech

MMJ PhytoTech (ASX:MMJ) is getting serious about the Australian market, appointing a legal advisor and raising cash as regulatory hurdles in front of a medicinal cannabis industry start to evaporate.

It comes after the Turnbull government announced that it would allow the states to legalise the growth of cannabis for medical purposes, opening the door for a medical cannabis industry to get started.

States including Victoria and News South Wales have already taken key steps in making this a reality, but the commitment to introduce national legislation on the issue is a boon for companies which could potentially play in the space.

MMJ PhytoTech, since the federal move was announced on Friday, has rocketed up by more than 20% to be at 37.5c at the time of writing.

MMJ had previously signalled its intent to investigate the Australian market on the back of positive noises from the Victorian government, but the federal government cooing to the party has triggered firmer action.

It has appointed national legal firm Piper Alderman to act as a regulatory advisor, and raised $2 million via a placement in Europe to fund the move into Australia.

MMJ PhytoTech, which is an ASX-listed company, has has to head to other jurisdictions such as Canada and Israel in order to build a fully-integrated medical cannabis company.

It has a ‘farm to pharma’ strategy, which includes the growing of cannabis; the extraction of key compounds and manufacture of medical products from those compounds; and a research & development capacity.

Managing director Andreas Gedeon said the positive shift in the Australian regulatory environment would provide a unique opportunity for MMJ.

“We’re incredibly supportive of the recent announcement from the federal government and it is this which has driven our decision to expedite our strategy to enter the Australian market,” he said.

“Our background within the medical cannabis sector provides us with the necessary experience and expertise to quickly establish ourselves as a leading player in the domestic space.”

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