31st October 2023 17:42
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne
Rachel PAYNE (South-Eastern Metropolitan) (17:42): (552)
My adjournment matter is for the minister for trade and investment Minister Pallas. Global Victoria attended the International Cannabis Business Conference in Berlin earlier this year and even held their own stall, apparently championing Victoria’s medicinal cannabis industry. This conference is Europe’s longest running and biggest business-to-business trade show and provides what it describes as a premiere cannabis business networking environment.
It is fantastic to see the Victorian government take such an opportunity to attract investment into the future of cannabis in the global economy. We know that Victoria spends millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars every year criminalising cannabis – money spent on policing, the criminal justice system and criminal records. What a waste. Since the Victorian government are so interested in the business of cannabis, I am sure that they are aware that there are hundreds of millions of dollars that we could funnel out of criminal organisations and into a regulated market. We commend the government on taking steps to get a seat at the table of the international business community’s conversations on cannabis. The action I seek is that the minister provides information on what Global Victoria learned at this conference and what steps this government is taking to embrace the business opportunities that arise from a regulated cannabis market.
Received: 18 December 2023
Tim Pallas MP
(Treasurer, Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister for Economic Growth)
The Victorian Government, through Global Victoria in collaboration with the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Australia (MCIA), led a trade mission of 10 Victorian organisations to the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) Berlin between 28 and 30 June 2023.
The Victorian Government announced the Medical Cannabis Industry Development Strategy in 2018 which sought to grow Victoria’s emerging medicinal cannabis industry into an established sector, including growing exports.
This trade mission focussed on assisting Victorian medicinal cannabis related organisations to understand the European medicinal cannabis ecosystem, and the opportunities that exist for business development, collaborations and partnerships, building on a successful trade mission to ICBC Berlin in 2022.
Participating companies consisted of cultivators and growers, manufacturers of medicinal cannabis products, and research organisations.
The trade mission program included a Victorian Pavilion at ICBC which provided a platform for brand awareness and building strategic relationships amongst the 2,000 visitors from 75 countries.
Based on evaluation surveys received from the delegates, the following outcomes were reported:
- ICBC 2022 – $9.9 million in immediate export sales
- ICBC 2023 – $14.15 million in immediate and anticipated export sales over 24 months (noting that Global Victoria continues to survey participating companies to determine whether forecast sales eventuate to become confirmed sales).
Key observations and learnings
In addition to directly supporting the businesses involved in the trade mission, additional observations and learnings include:
- The Victorian medicinal cannabis industry has a competitive advantage in quality, product integrity / safety, and regulatory framework under which it is used.
- The importance of continuing to develop export pathways is vital to the continued growth of the sector.
- The diversity of different global regulatory standards and approaches to patient access for medicinal cannabis present a challenge to cannabis producers – solutions to this challenge lie in understanding and combining knowledge of these regulatory frameworks with business opportunities.
- While Europe is currently a priority international market, Victoria is potentially also well positioned to the Asian market based on Australia’s strong reputation for quality in agricultural and pharmaceutical product categories.
- Facilitating access to export markets is a key industry priority to support the sustainability of Victorian cultivation and manufacturing businesses.