A $16 million investment is helping position Victoria as the country’s main hub for medicinal cannabis.

As an early medicinal cannabis adopter, in 2016 Victoria became the first Australian state to legalise access to medicinal cannabis for patients in exceptional circumstances. This paved the way for doctors to now be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis to patients to treat a range of medical conditions – including children suffering severe epilepsy.

And now, the world’s largest medicinal cannabis company, Canada’s Canopy Growth Corporation, will establish its Asia Pacific headquarters and research and development (R&D) centre in Victoria, generating 200 jobs and investing $16 million into the local economy through the Victorian Government's Medical Cannabis Industry Development Plan.

Fast forward to 2028 and Victoria is forecast to provide medicinal cannabis products to 83,000 of 166,000 potential patients across the nation. This is tipped to net $90 million for our local economy annually and create up to 500 local jobs, from cultivation through to sales.

International supply could be on the cards in the future, too. Countries such as the Netherlands and Canada already export medicinal cannabis products and with the announcement that Australia will establish an export market, Victoria is well placed to eventually supply products worldwide.

Ben Quirin, Spectrum Cannabis Australia, Managing Director

Ben Quirin, Spectrum Cannabis Australia, Managing Director– through its wholly-owned subsidiary Spectrum Cannabis Australia –  is exploring suitable Victorian locations for a high-tech greenhouse and processing facility to produce at scale. Its priority will be on whole-plant and pharmaceutical-grade products and rigorous evidence-based physician and pharmacist education. We caught up with Ben for a talk about the way ahead for medicinal cannabis in Australia.

Why Victoria for your Asia Pacific headquarters? 

The Victorian Government initially approached us to understand the Canadian experience. Their productive and positive approach, as well as their commitment to innovation, made it clear to us that Victoria was the right place to establish our headquarters and R&D facility. We’ve committed $16 million to generate jobs and help the Victorian Government reach its goal of creating jobs, attracting investment and developing high-quality, locally-produced products to meet patient needs. Spectrum Cannabis Australia’s priority is to domestic patients and this will be supported by our objectives to undertake local R&D, and education for the medical and general community.

Who are your key audiences?

Our focus will be Australian patient access, and we’ll explore other Asia Pacific areas as they come online. Our view is that consistent supply to the Australian market is a key pillar of access.

Research is underway between Canopy and Agriculture Victoria. Tell us more.

We signed a formal research collaboration agreement with Agriculture Victoria, part of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, at the beginning of the year, which will focus on medical applications for cannabis genetics – specifically strain development, cultivation and processing.

Patient access

Legal access to medicinal cannabis products is available via the Special Access Scheme or Authorised Prescriber Scheme administered by the Commonwealth Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

Discover more about medicinal cannabis