Australian Cannabis Market 2019: State-by-State Guide

Australian Cannabis Market 2019: State-by-State Guide

The global cannabis market is poised to explode in value, with an estimated projected worth of $55 billion by 2025. Before you go buying up stock in vape pens, there are a few hurdles to overcome. This includes a complicated and convoluted licensing process as well as a physician community that is reluctant to recommend or prescribe cannabis to patients. 

In 2017, Australia joined 20 other countries who have either legalised cannabis for medical use or legalised the drug completely. Going a step further, the country legalised marijuana exports in 2019, priming it to become a significant player in the global cannabis market. Australia has success in this sort of agri-pharma market: it produces approximately 50% of the world’s legal poppy supply. Pharmaceutical companies eventually process these poppies into prescription pain relievers like codeine and morphine. 

Below you’ll find a look at how the cannabis industry is getting along in some of Australia’s most significant areas. 


Australian Capital Territory

There is a bill in process right now to legalise cannabis for personal use in the ACT. Cannabis is already decriminalised. However, due its territory status, commonwealth laws may override the rules they want to put into place. The Assembly is currently hashing out how they want to negotiate the legal tangle. Among the things they want to do is to allow cannabis growers to create “social houses”, essentially mini co-op farms for cannabis and to allow hydroponic cultivation.

New South Wales

New South Wales Cannabis Laws Map
When it comes to cutting through the red tape and making medical access to cannabis easier, New South Wales is leading the way. In March 2018, Health Minister Greg Hunt said that medical cannabis would be made more readily available to patients by only requiring one clinical assessment from the Therapeutic Goods Association. Previously, approvals had to be overseen by both the Commonwealth and NSW Health, which could take weeks before a patient had access. 


Northern Territory

Northern Territory Cannabis Laws Map

Although medical cannabis cultivation is legal nationwide, the Northern Territory is still playing catch up. The government of NT is still up in the air about legalising industrial hemp cultivation. However, the state won big last year when Canadian medical cannabis distributor Wayland Group chose the Northern Territory as its newest hub, hoping to cash in on the thriving Asian cannabis market from that location.



Queensland Cannabis Laws Map

Last year, the first private cannabis clinic in Queensland opened its doors. Before it can begin prescribing cannabis, however, it is awaiting government approval. The Queensland Department of Health is working hard to make access easier for patients in need by streamlining the process. 

Steven Miles, the state’s Minister for Health, said that the changes that would affect the Medical Cannabis Act of 2016 are intended to bring the state more in line with other states in Australia, such as Victoria and New South Wales.  


South Australia

South Australia Cannabis Laws Map

In July of last year, South Australia suffered a humiliating setback when the public outcry about increasing the penalties for marijuana possession forced the SA attorney general to rethink the government’s position. The state seems to be behind medical cannabis use while wholeheartedly opposing recreational use of the plant. 

In November, the state hosted a medical marijuana symposium that had a focus on both national and international speakers discussing the challenges that the cannabis industry is currently facing. This, combined with the state-of-the-art research facilities in South Australia, could allow the state to move to be a front runner in the industry. 



Tasmania Cannabis Laws Map

Sadly, Tasmania is lagging behind the rest of the country when it comes to legal access to medical cannabis. Since 2017, when the state approved medical access to patients, only seven patients have been prescribed medical cannabis products. Part of this is the fact that other states allow patients to process their applications online, while Tasmania does not. 

Even though the government seems to be lagging behind other states, the population seems more progressive. In a survey of 1,100 citizens, 59% approved of access to medical cannabis while only 28% opposed it entirely. The industrial sector, too, is encouraging. The largest opium processing company in the state, Tasmanian Alkaloids, has moved into the research and development phase of medical cannabis production.  



Vicoria Cannabis Laws Map

Victoria has been at the forefront of championing research and access to medical cannabis. It became the first state to legalise access to medical patients back in 2016. The state already has multiple companies setting up shop there and is attracting international attention. Two Canadian cannabis companies have previously announced intentions to invest in Victoria’s cannabis industry, with Cronos Australia, parented by Cronos Group, has announced that Victoria will become the headquarters for its Asian-Pacific endeavours. 


Western Australia

Western Australia Cannabis Laws Map

Though once lagging behind other states, Western Australia is slowly catching up. The state’s first medical-cannabis centric clinic opened in Subiaco in December 2018. The Western Australia Department of Health is doing its part by working hard to streamline regulations and make access for patients in need much more straightforward. However, medicinal cannabis products are still considered to be unapproved controlled drugs, meaning approval from both the Department of Health and the federal Therapeutic Goods Administration is needed. 

On the whole, Australia has positioned itself to be a dominant player in the global cannabis market. However, recreational use remains illegal, so keep this in mind before you pack your dry herb vaporiser for that Aussie vacation you’ve been planning!

Thank you Michael Jacobs for this guest article.

Wondering about how to access cannabis in Australia? Read all about How to Access Cannabis, CBD and Medical Marijuana in Australia here.

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  • Thank you David!

    The Cannabis Company on
  • Robyn, terribly sorry to hear about your depression. If you would like to access CBD we have a great article which will guide you through the process, here is the link:

    The Cannabis Company on
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    david chua on
  • I have suffered severe anxiety & depression for 20 years and have been reading heaps on google about the Benefits of CBD oil for this. I want very much to try this product I will have to make inquires re purchasing some for myself. I am 70 and my life is very restricted can anyone help

    Robyn Weigand on
  • Sarah, your attitude is great and in times like these, we need a positive mindset. But as the world is opening up to cannabis hopefully it won’t be too long until Australia does the same!

    The Cannabis Company on
  • Daryl, for now, nothing is certain. However, the ACT is legalising cannabis in January 2020, in light of that, we may perhaps see greener times across Australia soon.

    The Cannabis Company on
  • I did some research and saw more research being performed in Australia than ever before. I’m really interested in the uses on Spinal injuries as patients need treatment that isn’t highly addictive, like opiods. Stay positive everyone and hopefully Cannabis treatments become available for everyone who needs it in Aus.

    Sarah Thompson on
  • When do you think that CBD will be available for the general public through hand creams, moisturisers and oil, similar to the UK?

    Daryl Murray on
  • Diane, in most cases CBD oil shouldn’t show however different oils will contain various amounts of traceable THC, which is what breathalysers look for. This can cause your CBD oil to show up when you get your breath tested.

    For your fibromyalgia, CBD oil has been known as an effective treatment for your condition.

    The Cannabis Company on
  • Terry, so sorry to hear about your struggles but glad to know that CBD oil has truly helped you. We agree that CBD oil should be readily available for Aussies everywhere. Stories like this will one day be the catalyst for change.

    The Cannabis Company on
  • Norm, we are honoured that you reached out to us for help and cannot imagine the pain you are struggling through. CBD oil can be a great option for your pain as it has been proven to be very effective. Our article “How To Access CBD and Medicinal Marijuana in Australia” can guide you through the process and if you find any difficulties on the way feel free to send us an email with your medical background and best contact number so we can contact you. Otherwise, we have a Hemp Seed Oil which contains similar nutrients to CBD oil that you can try out to help relieve inflammations.

    The Cannabis Company on
  • Sharon, amazing to hear how marijuana has changed your previous state. Australia is really taking their time with legalising cannabis, but we are thankful that at least the government is on the right track to it, even if it is painfully slow. If you would like to know why many governments are generally against cannabis we have a great article to tell you about its history

    The Cannabis Company on
  • Chris, interesting topic to bring up! Yes, research has yet to find any conclusive evidence to prove cannabis leading to death in modern times. We are just as keen for its legalisation here in Australia as you.

    The Cannabis Company on
  • If you take CBD and you get breath tested does it show up. Also if you go overseas is it considered a no go drug.
    Is it safe to take. I have fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis also anxiety. Can it help these as I take lots of Panadol which cannot be doing me any good.🥰

    Diane Ladt on
  • Mac, our exact same thought when we researched the current cannabis situation across Australia.

    The Cannabis Company on
  • Sharon, terribly sorry to hear about your daughter. The Greens located in south Australia and HEMP Party South Australia are great places to start to make a difference. The parties are both in favour of legalising the plant in order to better lives. They have plenty of information regarding their state’s research facilities and current news towards legalising the plant in SA.

    The Cannabis Company on
  • Ohhh

    Mac Millan on
  • How do I find out more about the group helping legalise hemp oil in South Australia. Where is the state-of-the-art research facilities in South Australia, that could allow the state to move to be a front runner in the industry, or is this in the pipe-line/pipe dream. My daughter suffers from Endometriosis and this is a medication that can help with her pain. Obviously, people against the smoking of marijuana in South
    Australia do not have a family member or themselves do not suffer chronic pain everyday.

    Sharon McGowan on
  • I have a Tumor on my spine which put pressure on my nerves especially the sciatic which give terrible pain,using pain relief medicine was little relief .On trying CBD oil Belguim I found a far better pain relief than doctor prescribed drugs . I purchased 2 x30ml 1500mg bottles and have been having 2 drops each morning and 1 at night .I still have some pain but far less than before the oil drops. Should be available to all who need pain relief.

    TErry sHorter on
  • Hi, I have had excruciating burning, under foot pain, for several years. Apart from extensive and ongoing pain medications I have undergone the following:-Pain management device, release of tibial nerve, radiologically mid foot fusion, some interim pain relief received by injecting local anaesthetic
    mid foot. The surgeon has described my current condition as "Severe plantar burning pain, as well as some lateral hind foot pain. I am at my wits end and sincerely hope you can provide me with a avenue to procure legal prescription for CBD. I would appreciate if you can treat this as a life saving plea. Kind regards, Norm Neilson.

    Norm Neilson on
  • I’ve been living with chronic pain for 24 years now after an incident at work. I’ve been on opioids for 23 years, trying to help cope with pain. These drugs have made me depressed, tired, lifeless and they have stripped me of the person I once was. Now I smoke marijuana either by vape or joint and I’m in complete bliss, back to my old self….
    I don’t get, why it’s SO HARD for our government and their cronies to let this PASS…. so we can all start living again!

    Sharon Feenan on
  • The evidence shows that it has never killed anyone ever since since the Egyptians started using it more than 5000 years ago I believe it should be legalised Australia wide.!!!

    Chris Taylor on

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