Australia Archives - Green Market Report

Sean HockingSean HockingNovember 4, 2019
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12min3750

 It is estimated that close to a million patients are now seeking access to medicinal cannabis in Australia alone. 

Government figures show around 20,000 patients now have approvals for access to legal medicinal cannabis products. 

Many patients are, the MCUA reports,  still having to turn to the “black” market or are self supplying because access to and cost of the majority of legal medicinal cannabis products is way beyond their financial reach.

This is happening in Queensland, for example, partly because public hospital policy does not permit its doctors to prescribe cannabis-based products.

 

The MCUA states that the rate of approvals

Has increased substantially since the inception and there has been a mushrooming of corporate clinics set up to move products which were languishing on warehouse shelves because GPs were refusing to prescribe medical cannabis. These clinics have the sole purpose of prescribing corporate cannabis-based products and have become the gateway to moving them off the shelves.

 

It appears these clinics are given “special treatment” in this highly regulated environment as the MCUA noted when CEO of Medical Cannabis Company THC, David Radford said on sky news …we are working with individual State govts to get their approvals (for clinics)…  the clinic is not the same as health clinic that you go through so we are not expecting the same regulatory hurdles…”    

Source: https://www.skynews.com.au/details/_5713222826001

 

The current modus operandi of the clinics when communicating with “patients” is an offering of both teleconferencing and face to face consultations with doctors who it is being alleged have no prior experience using or prescribing cannabis-based medicine in a clinical situation and who also have had limited training via educational videos and medical cannabis company company backup.

Some patients have reported to the MCUA  that consultation processes have been amateur in approach.  In some cases, no medical history of the patient is recorded and prospective patients weren’t even asked about current medications or allergies that they might have.

As to consultation fees the MCUA report that these can vary enormously between clinics.

The majority of medical cannabis patients do not receive a Medicare rebate and the organization currently understands that on average that patients are charged fees by third parties of around $200 to apply to the TGA online)a process for which there is no fee attached if one registers direct). Costs,  it is reported, varies from under $100 to over $1000 for an initial consultation and application (for medical cannabis) fees. 

 Due to the  increasing number of complaints about these clinics the MCUA is currently conducting a patient satisfaction survey asking about patient experiences overall with the delivery model set up by the Australian Government

 Responses to their survey have been consistent throughout with around  45% of patients saying they are paying up to $500 to $1000 a month for products.  

Most survey respondents are on Centrelink payments because of their illness and some have got themselves into debt with family or friends, to enable them to purchase the medicine. Almost half of the prescriptions written have not been filled.

 Peter Crock, CEO of the Cann Group and Chairman of Medicinal Cannabis Industry Australia reinforces this scenario.  He said on ABC radio  recently that:

“All medicinal cannabis is being imported .. that is what is keeping prices high …. and people are taking the opportunity to make super profits on the way thru.”

Peter Crock, CEO of the Cann Group and Chairman of Medicinal Cannabis Industry Australia

Source: https://cannabislaw.report/podcast-australian-medical-association-tells-abc-radio-they-still-cant-back-medical-cannabis/?fbclid=IwAR0p6uG6zYomCLxkRpcNOm5Ml2GBQtOCmlFRvuIUs_zmKkTeEOn-j6ZiZlM

  Many survey respondents say they have had more than one approval with 20% or respondents saying they have had more than 5 approvals.  The dissatisfaction rate with the delivery system is sitting consistently at 86% . 

 Patient experiences from gathered via the survey include the following, amongst many.

  • One MCUS member reported being charged $700 in consultation fees and for the product for her father to use as palliative medicine for his final days as he was showing intolerance for conventional end of life drugs. The medicine was delivered late,  a 6 weeks supply of cannabis oil with an expiry date of October 2019; and then the supplier charged $50 to tell the member how to administer & dosage amount. Then after that charge to be told the family GP  would need to sign it off before the prescription could be administered.   
  • Another writes “I’m worried my cannabis clinic is taking me for a ride. My appointments initially cost $100. Then my first batch of tilray was 25mg THC:25mg CBD. I have to buy it in 2 bottles of 25ml otherwise I have to pay an excess of $50 for shipping. My first script cost was $633.30 for the 50ml I received. The next time I needed an order it cost $330.30 for 50ml of the same script.” 
  • Another patient said she recently applied for the legal version, knowing full well it was above and beyond what she can afford. The initial appointment cost $200 with $59 for any subsequent scripts, $80 for a follow-up appointment and  $59 whenever the patient has had to adjust dose or product.

 

MCUA President, Deb Lynch, is currently waiting for a trial date after being arrested and charged for self-supply following many attempts to acquire a prescription through Qld Health, whose doctors have been advised not to prescribe cannabis under public hospital policy. Being on a disability pension, there is no way she says she can afford the costs involved in getting a script from one of these corporate cannabis clinics.  

The MCUA is still seeking patients who have been through the legal process to fill in their customer satisfaction survey (https://surveyhero.com/c/55e2c285) which will be going to the Federal Senate, via ALP Senator Anne Urquhart along with their current petition to them asking for a full review of the delivery system put in place by the LNP.

To contact the MCUA please go to https://www.mcuainc.org.au/


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtJuly 2, 2019
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5min11570

International expansion is the words of the day as several companies announced plans to reach beyond the borders of Canada and the U.S. It seems Colombia is where all the action is.

MJ Freeway

MJ Freeway, a subsidiary of Akerna Corp. (NASDAQ: KERN)  said it is expanding further into Europe by serving clients in two additional countries, Italy and Macedonia. The company also recently opened a Medellín, Colombia office to serve its growing footprint in South America. MJ Freeway client, Clever Leaves, is the first Colombian company authorized to export cannabis into Canada.

“We believe it is imperative for countries with emerging cannabis businesses such as Italy and Macedonia to have access to our compliance technology,” says Jessica Billingsley, CEO of Akerna and MJ Freeway. “By giving governments, businesses, and consumers the tools needed to productively manage regulatory demands, we are able to execute our plan to connect data points across the global cannabis supply chain.”

The company stated that Macedonia is one of the few countries in the world to approve medical cannabis for cultivation and export. Italy has significantly increased its hemp production to serve its growing domestic market for industrial products and infusing in cosmetics and other consumer goods. As a result of the expansion into Italy and Macedonia, MJ Freeway has increased its footprint to five European countries including Spain, Switzerland and Denmark.

MYM Nutraceuticals Inc.

MYM Nutraceuticals Inc.(CSE: MYM) (OTCBB: MYMMF) announced that its subsidiary in Colombia, Colombia Organica S.A.S signed agreements in principle to cultivate both THC and CBD-rich cannabis with independent farmers for an initial five acres. The company said in a statement that cannabis will be cultivated by farmers who will be licensees under the existing Colombia Organica cannabis cultivation licenses. The first crops cultivated on the initial five acres will function as test crops with the intention to add subsequent acreage.

“Our team in Colombia has begun to execute on our plan to cultivate both THC and CBD-rich cannabis in South America,” said Howard Steinberg, CEO of MYM. “The strategy of extending our licenses to neighboring farmers to cultivate cannabis will serve to increase our biomass supply that we intend on processing and exporting to the global market.”

The farmers will be responsible for all costs associated with cultivation from seed to sale. Colombia Organica agrees to purchase the harvested biomass at a price to be determined at the time of delivery based on the average market price at that time.

Aleafia Health

Aleafia Health Inc. (TSX: ALEF)(OTC: ALEAF) said it received multiple Export Permits from Health Canada, which allow the Company to begin its first international cannabis product shipment. Aleafia said it expects to ship its branded medical cannabis oils in the next month, which will be distributed by Australian Licensed Producer CannaPacific Pty. Limited. Aleafia Health owns a 10 % equity stake in CannaPacific.

“The receipt of Health Canada Export Permits enables Aleafia Health to sell high-margin, value-added cannabis products across international borders for the first time, representing a major milestone as we augment our global distribution platform,” said Aleafia Health Chairman Julian Fantino. “We continue to prove the international viability of our highly differentiated cannabis health and wellness ecosystem with products, clinic operations, education and distribution. With among the largest cultivation and extraction footprints in Canada coming online, we will continue to look to new international markets.”

“This is such a tremendous milestone for CannaPacific. Our relationship with Aleafia Health continues to accelerate our strategic vision of leadership in the Australasian medical cannabis market,” said CannaPacific CEO Joshua Dennis. “We have the facility, the proven management team, and now the product portfolio to continue executing towards our goal.”


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtJanuary 15, 2018
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4min32441

It’s merger Monday in the cannabis industry as Aphria steps up to make a big deal with Broken Coast Cannabis.

Aphria Inc. (APHQF)  announced that it entered into a binding letter agreement to acquire 100% of Broken Coast Cannabis Inc., a premium cannabis producer located in British Columbia. The deal is expected to add incremental annual production of 10,500 kgs, some of that cannabis is market ready today, quickly boosting Aphria’s forecast annual production to 230,000 kgs. The transaction also gives Aphria more geographic diversification, a cross-Canada distribution platform, and access to over 40,000 medical patients. 

The total value of the deal is approximately C$230 million, to be paid with up to C$10 million in cash and the remainder in Aphria shares. Shares issued to Broken Coast shareholders will be issued at a price of C$15.09 and the deal is expected to close January 31. Each of the three co-founders of Broken Coast, who cumulatively hold over 80% of the outstanding capital, will remain with the pro-forma company.

This is Aphria’s second major investment into consumer- and brand-focused assets, in advance of the legalization of adult-use cannabis expected in 2018. In a company statement, Aphria said that Broken Coast has had positive Adjusted EBITDA since 2015 and that its lean operations are highly complementary to Aphria. In combination with Aphria’s track record, the combined entity is expected to be amongst the most profitable and sustainable producers in the country.

“Adding one of Canada’s most sought-after premium brands represents a major triumph for Aphria and our shareholders and firmly establishes our position as a Canadian leader in premium indoor cannabis production,” said Vic Neufeld, Chief Executive Officer of Aphria. “Broken Coast has proven that you can grow premium quality cannabis, charge a reasonable price and earn a profit all at the same time. Our two companies are closely aligned, particularly as it relates to our relentless focus on production costs and profitability.”

Strategic Investment in Althea

Aphria Inc. also announced that it signed a supply agreement with Australian-based Althea Company Pty Ltd. and invested C$2.5 million in Althea in exchange for 25% shareholdings in the Company. The investment increases Aphria’s presence in the emerging Australian cannabis market. This is the second supply agreement Aphria has signed in Australia.

According to the company statement, Aphria will provide Althea with packaged co-branded cannabis oil and dried flower products for the Australian medical cannabis market. Althea has already received import permits from the Australian Government’s Office of Drug Control (ODC) and Aphria is expected to export the first shipment this month, subject to regulatory approvals by Health Canada.

Aphria stock was lately trading at $14.45 on the OTC Marketplace, down from its 52-week high of $19.86, but way above its 52-week low of $3.39.


Jack SmithJack SmithJanuary 9, 2018
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4min52430
Elixinol Global, a newly created company, said that it would continue to move forward with its initial public offering on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), aiding to provide investors with access to the burgeoning demand for cannabis-infused products, despite worries around the globe.
As part of the offering, Colorado-based Elixinol is merging with Hemp Foods Australia and Elixinol Australia to form Elixinol Global. The companies did not say how much existing shareholders and investors would own of the newly created company, but noted the benefits of the combined company, calling it a “single-source access.”
“With global exports of Australian medical marijuana now approved, the world will
soon have single-source access to best in class medical marijuana and hemp
products from Elixinol, one of the world’s most trusted brands,” said Paul Benhaim,
CEO of Elixinol Global, in a prepared statement, announcing the transaction.
Elixinol Global’s CFO, Ron Dufficy, noted Benhaim’s previous achievements (Benhaim founded Elixinol, Hemp Foods, and Elixinol Australia) as part of a way to create value. “It is time to offer investors an opportunity to take advantage of the collective footprint in this revolutionary emerging global market while capitalizing on potential efficiencies,” Ron added.
The separate entities will still retain their core competencies, just under a single roof. For Australian-based Hemp Foods, that means focusing on making and selling “quality hemp food products and skin care.” Colorado-based Elixinol will still continue to sell “hemp-based
cannabidiol (CBD) dietary supplements and topical products from US and European
hemp,” whereas Elixinol Pty will “provide the globe access to medical marijuana exports from
Australia.”
The legal cannabis-infused products industry is expected to grow by more than three-fold over the next four years, topping $20 billion by 2021, according to data compiled by BDS Analytics. Separately, Brightfield Group, a cannabis investment research firm, puts the international market for cannabis-related products at an expected $31.4 billion by 2021, up from $7.7 billion today.
Whether it’s $20 billion or more than $31 billion, it’s clear the market is expected to grow, despite the proclamations U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made, as he attempts to curtail the legal cannabis market in the U.S.  Benhaim believes that the newly-formed Elixinol will be important to health-conscious consumers looking for their goods and products.
“We’ve worked very hard to make Elixinol the most trusted CBD brand in the world,” Benhaim said. “Elixinol Global is only the beginning of expanded opportunities for investors, strategic partners, and our global customers.”
Shares of the newly formed company are expected to start trading on the ASX on Jan. 8. under the ticker “EXL.”


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