Byron-based medical cannabis group lands $92 million deal
A company that is relocating its headquarters to Byron Bay has landed a $92 million deal to supply medical cannabis to the European Union.
Australian Natural Therapeutics Group has shipped the first Europe-bound batch of Australian-grown commercial medicinal cannabis flower.
It marks the beginning of a landmark ten year agreement between ANTG and the EU market.
This is expected to see about two tons of product shipped to Germany over the initial 18 months of the deal.
ANTG's cannabis flower is to be exclusively distributed through pharmaceutical wholesaler, Cannamedical Pharma.
ANTG CEO Matt Cantelo said this was a huge step for the industry in Australia, given the EU's advancement in medical cannabis legislation and its strict regulations on imports.
"This is a major win for the industry in Australia," Mr Cantelo said.
"While the German cannabis industry is still in its infancy, it is the third largest market globally behind the US and Canada.
"We are the first local growers to crack the EU market, which currently receives the majority of imported products from Canada and The Netherlands.
"Now that we have the gold standard in growing and manufacturing medicinal cannabis - in line with the most stringent in the world - it means our product also qualifies for export to every other nation."
He said their growing standards relied on strict controls, from water quality to the available light and carbon dioxide content in the air.
"The high benchmarks in Australia have been a welcome approach - it sets us up as the best in the world and it keeps the cowboys out of the industry," Mr Cantelo said.
"Australia also has the reputation and climate for growing excellent produce in general - it makes sense that we would produce the highest quality, non-irradiated medicinal cannabis product as well."
Health Minister Greg Hunt said Autralia's "gold-standard regulation" along with a "premium agricultural and manufacturing industry" had the local industry "well positioned to become a preferred supplier to the global market".
"This has the potential to create jobs and boost economic growth in Australia as we look to new and different export channels," Mr Hunt said.
"In the next 12 months, we are projecting strong growth in the medicinal cannabis industry, both domestically and in the export market.
"We congratulate Australian Natural Therapeutics Group for this milestone, which represents the first major commercial exportation of medicinal cannabis to the EU.
"We are also continuing to work with the industry to expand domestic cultivation and manufacture, and ensure an ongoing supply of medicinal cannabis products derived from locally grown cannabis and manufactured wholly in Australia."