MMJ Phytotech eyes Australia

Published at Oct 13, 2015, in Biotech

There are signs the Victorian government’s move to legalise medical cannabis could open up a new industry, with pharmaceutical player MMJ Phytotech (ASX:MMJ) saying it would now look at the Australian market on the back of a regulatory win.

The Victorian government, led by Daniel Andrews, recently announced that it would introduce legislation before the year was out which would allow locally manufactured cannabis products to be supplied to those with serious medical conditions.

These can include illnesses such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy and chronic pain.

“I’ve seen first-hand how medicinal cannabis can change people’s lives. This landmark reform means Victorian families will no longer have to decide between breaking the law and watching their child suffer,” Andrews said at the time, backing up sentiment from health minister Jill Hennessy.

“Victoria is leading the way on legalising medicinal cannabis because we know the difference it can make to a patient’s quality of life, and because we know the evidence is growing in support of it as a treatment option in exceptional circumstances,” she said.

The move from the government came from a review done by the Victorian Law Reform Commission, which found that the use of locally manufactured cannabis products to treat the ill should be allowed in “exceptional circumstances”.

It also recommended that growers and providers of medicinal cannabis products should be licensed by the state.

MMJ Phytotech, which has started sales of its first cannabinoid pill overseas has now flagged its interest in working in Australia, saying its experience would give it a natural advantage over start-ups.

“Our expertise in the medical cannabis market positions us at the forefront of the embryonic industry in Australia,” chief executive Andreas Gedeon said.

“Through our investigations into the opportunity in the market we hope to one day become one of the leading providers of safe and secure medical cannabis in the state of Victoria, Australia.”

On the federal front, there is a private members bill currently being considered by the Senate which would allow for the manufacture and sale of medical cannabis products on a wider scale.

It was sponsored by representatives from the Greens, Liberals, Labor, and crossbencher David Leyonhjelm.

Meanwhile, it told shareholders that it would be able to produce from its Duncan facility in Canada by the first quarter of next year.

Farm to Pharma

MMJ is positioning itself as a ‘farm to pharma’ player in the medical pharmaceutical industry, aiming to have a presence in the growth, extraction, and manufacture of cannabidoil and tetrahydrocannabinol from cannabis plants.

Its Duncan facility in Canada comes under its United Greeneries offshoot, and is the ‘farm’ portion of the strategy.

Today it told investors that the Canadian government had completed a vita pre-inspection upgrade of the facility, and was now just awaiting the final check from the government.

When operational, the Duncan facility is slated to produce 700kg of medical cannabis.

It also has a second project in the works in Canada, which could bring production up to 12,000kg per year.

United Greeneries is fully integrated with a state-of-the-art biochemical quality testing and analytics laboratory at its disposal.

This is vital, as while it’s a requirement under Canadian law, not a lot of growers have this up their sleeve.

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