Medical Cannabis
Packages of medical marijuana are seen on a counter at a dispensary belonging to Tikun Olam, Israel's largest medical marijuana supplier, in Tel Aviv March 27, 2016. Picture taken March 27, 2016. Reuters/Ronen Zvulun

A white paper, Medicinal Cannabis in Australia: Science, Regulation and Industry, has given some shocking figures when it comes to the medical marijuana market in Australia. According to the estimates, Australians would consume up to 8,000kg of medical marijuana on the first year of the legalisation of cannabis for medical use. It would be a $100 million industry at the outset.

In order to meet the massive demand expected during the first year of Australia’s medical marijuana legalisation, experts believe that space at least three times the size of Sydney Cricket Ground would be required, that is, 51,000 square metres of greenhouse space.

The white paper was produced by University of Sydney Business School and MCG Pharmaceuticals, a medical cannabis company. It’s a first of its kind study where researchers studied the medicinal and economic benefits and logistic of Australia’s medical cannabis industry. The researchers studied the sales trends in countries where medical marijuana has been legalised, such as Netherlands, Canada and Israel, and used their data.

“We’re talking $100 million in year one, that’s the latent demand that’s already there. We’re not talking about increased uptake, exports, and that doesn’t include the next tech billionaire who develops an app [to tap into the market],” said Michael Katz, associate lecturer, University of Sydney Business School.

When it’s a $250 billion global industry, it is bound to create jobs. As per Canadian firm Tilray, Australian market has the potential to create thousands of skilled jobs and become a billion dollar industry, writes

Katz believes Australia has an advantage over other medical cannabis-producing countries, such as Mongolia, because the country’s agricultural products generally are considered clean and green, and there is a strong rule of law across Australia.

Among the industries that medicinal marijuana are expected to create are on the technical agricultural side such as extraction and dosage, and the technology side such as scalable standardisation tools and supply chain logistics.