Byron based medicinal cannabis producer is sending cannabis to Germany in a breakthrough $92m deal yet the humble plant remains illegal for locals and continues to put people behind bars.
The first batch of commercial medicinal cannabis flower has just been sent to Germany. The landmark ten year deal will see around two tons of Australian Natural Therapeutics Group (ANTG) locally cultivated dried medicinal cannabis shipped to Germany over the next 18 months, to be exclusively distributed through pharmaceutical wholesaler, Cannamedical Pharma.
ANTG chief executive officer, Matt Cantelo, said the partnership represents a huge step for the Australian industry as the European Union is one of the most advanced around its cannabis legislation. It also holds the strictest regulations on imports, only recognising Good Agricultural Practice and Good Manufacturing Practice (GACP/GMP) standards – a level ANTG recently received, in an Australian first.
‘This is a major win for the industry in Australia. While the German cannabis industry is still in its infancy, it is the third largest market globally behind the US and Canada,’ said Mr Cantelo.
‘We are the first local growers to crack the EU market, which currently receives the majority of imported products from Canada and The Netherlands,’ he said.
While Mr Cantelo says that the high industry standards in Australia ‘keep the cowboys out of the industry’, without the long term, and in some cases lifelong, campaigning and work from activists like those at the Nimbin HEMP Embassy and similar groups from around the world, the benefits of medical cannabis may have taken longer to recognise.
Where’s the justice?
The important milestone in Medicinal Cannabis production and distribution has been recognised by the Nimbin HEMP Embassy. However they have also highlighted the hypocrisy of Australian laws around the growing, distribution, and consumption of the plant and medicinal cannabis.
‘I’m very happy to hear about ANTG’s contract to supply Germany with legal weed,’ president of the Australian HEMP Party and Nimbin HEMP Embassy, Michael Balderstone, told The Echo, ‘but what about the rest of us who cannot afford legal medipot here in Oz, where it is more than twice the blackmarket price?
‘Millions of Australians cannot afford even the black (or greenmarket) price and would prefer to grow their own organically anyway.
‘How has it happened that for decades now we have been hunted and jailed and persecuted for growing our own choice of medicine, while being told that was nonsense and it was not real medicine at all – but now it suddenly is and big companies can get permits to grow it, whilst we are still being hunted in the same way?‘ he said.
‘And how come we have to listen to our health experts every night on the news directing us on how to deal with COVID-19, yet their expert advice on cannabis is repeatedly ignored?
‘Every inquiry for decades results in the same advice which is that the war on cannabis is doing much more harm than the plant itself ever could. The NSW experts appointed to the recent Ice Inquiry recommended decriminalising personal amounts of all illegal drugs, but again the politicians and their influencers know better. Shame on them.
‘There is every chance that now America has a new president they will end the war on weed, while here in Australia we continue to build new jails to lock up completely non-violent and harmless herb growers.’