NSW-based Australian Natural Therapeutics Group (ANTG) has been granted a license to produce large quantities of medicinal cannabis oil for commercial use as the industry booms on the back of good news internationally.
ANTG will commence commercial manufacturing of cannabis oil at its Armidale facility following receipt of the license from the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Founded in 2015, ANTG already produces four strains of medicinal cannabis flower, and will soon add four oil combinations to its product range following.
ANTG CEO Matt Cantelo said the license signifies a big step in the buy-local movement and will mean price drops in medical cannabis as more of the drug is made on-shore.
"Currently, many patients in Australia are unable to afford the ongoing costs of imported medicinal cannabis - which can be as much up to $50,000 a year for the treatment of ailments like epilepsy induced seizures," he said.
"We are seeing patients forced to the black market, or even trying to grow their own, which is not legal, nor safe."
There are only three other Australian growers and manufacturers of medicinal grade cannabis oils, with ANTG the first in NSW.
Canada currently produces the majority of medical cannabis used to treat Australian patients, with thousands of litres of cannabis oil shipped in last year for medical and scientific use.
"We are required to adhere to the highest level of quality and purity - even more so than other countries like Canada, which are leaders in cultivation of medicinal cannabis," Cantelo said."
"The difficulty in acquiring commercial licencing has led to a saturation of the Australia medicinal cannabis market from countries such as Canada, where companies are not required to meet the same level of restrictions placed on Australian businesses."
Receipt of the license means ANTG's growing and manufacturing facility complies with international quality standards, from the quality of the water to the light and amount of carbon dioxide in the air.
"This high benchmark has been a welcome approach - it keeps the cowboys out of the industry."
"We have been in a state of prohibition for more than 90 years, so we have to build a brand new industry."
Receipt of the license for ANTG comes on the back of positive developments internationally.
Last week shares in listed cannabis companies rallied on the back of the United Nations (UN) reclassifying cannabis so it is no longer considered a risky narcotic.
Following recommendations from the World Health Organisation on marijuana and its derivatives, the UN has removed cannabis from Schedule IV of the international treaty governing narcotic drugs where it sat alongside deadly and addictive opioids such as heroin.
The positive momentum has continued this week after the US House of Representatives passed a Bill to decriminalise cannabis at the national level.
While the Bill still has to pass a Republican-controlled Senate, that hasn't dampened the optimism of cannabis investors.
Since Monday shares in cannabis entities have boomed: Creso Pharma (ASX: CPH) is up 95.8 per cent and ECS Botanics (ASX: ECS) is up 46.3 per cent.
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