Nimbin Shops
Shop signs along the main street of Australia's hippy capital Nimbin on April 12 promote the hippy way of life, which includes smoking marijuana. Reuters/Michael Perry

A white paper estimates that Australians would consume up to 8,000 kilogrammes 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.

The figures are based on data from existing markets such as Canada, The Netherlands and Israel, according to “Medicinal Cannabis in Australia: Science, Regulation and Industry.” The University of Sydney Business School and MGC Pharmaceuticals, a medical cannabis firm, produced the white paper, reports

Expected to benefit from medicinal cannabis, amid drafting of rules about production under licence of weed after the federal Parliament approved legislation in February for marijuana cultivation for medicinal use, are Aussies suffering from ailments such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, epilepsy and chronic pain.

Globally, the medicinal cannabis industry is worth $250 billion. It has the potential to create thousands of skilled jobs and grow to become a billion-dollar industry in Australia, says the global president of Tilray, a Canadian company. The $100 million estimate by the white paper is just for the latent demand that’s already there, explains Michael Katz, associate lecturer at the university.

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.

The paper estimated 51,000 square metres of greenhouse space is needed, or thrice the size of Sydney Cricket Ground, to produce weed to meet the demand on the first year, reports Huffington Post. Nativ Segeve, managing director of MGC, says the company ha