Australia to export medicinal cannabis

MEDICINAL cannabis growers will be able to legally export their product from Australia in a move to boost the fledgling local industry.

But Australian patients will still get first priority for any medicinal cannabis grown locally, Health Minister Greg Hunt said today.

"It will be a condition of any licence authorising export that medicinal cannabis products be made available, when and if required, to Australian patients first," the Minister said in a statement today.

The federal government has approved the exportation of medicinal cannabis in a bid to strengthen the local market and supply for Australian patients amid growing demand domestically and worldwide.

It's use was made legal in Australia in 2016.

Mr Hunt said the government's top priority was to ensure a "safe, quality supply" of medicinal cannabis for sick Australians.

"We are making these changes because the expanding domestic medicinal cannabis products industry is facing increasing competition from imports," he said.

"And allowing the export of medicinal cannabis products will help the developing domestic market to grow further.

"We believe it is appropriate to amend the regulations governing the export of cannabis products to provide a level playing field."

The announcement comes today after the government released its first official guideline for Australian doctors on the use and benefits of medicinal cannabis in December.

Doctors can apply under the Therapeutic Goods Administration's Special Access Scheme Category or via an authorised prescriber to legally prescribe medicinal cannabis products.