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  • The WA State Government has eased up some medicinal cannabis laws today
  • While the drug has been available for medicinal use since 2016, it always needed a specialist prescription before a patient could take it home
  • Now, medicinal cannabis can be prescribed to treat pain from a GP — bringing Perth in line with eastern states
  • This unlocks the door for ASX-listed medicinal cannabis companies to target the Perth market

The McGowan Government has unlocked more doors for Perth residents seeking medicinal cannabis today.

The plant has been available for medicinal use since 2016 but has always required specialist referral and prescription before patients could take it home.

Now, it can be prescribed by a general practitioner (GP) just like any regular pain relief — meaning the process of getting the drug is far easier for patients suffering from conditions like multiple sclerosis and chronic pain.

The law change comes after a three-year review from the Department of Health regarding the prescription of medicinal cannabis and hemp products.

Health Minister Roger Cook said the law change reiterates his department’s patient-first outlook.

“Medicinal cannabis is often prescribed as a drug of last resort for people who are suffering and in terrible pain, this announcement underpins the McGowan Government commitment to putting patients first,” Roger said.

But it’s not just patients who are set to reap the rewards of the change in legislation.

AusCann primed to gain

WA-based AusCann focuses purely on the development, production, and marketing of cannabinoids-based medication and pharmaceutical products.

The company’s initial focus is the treatment of chronic pain, with plans to expand into other medical areas to come. As such, today’s law change directly impacts groups like AusCann who have been held back by tight legislation.

AusCann’s market cap is valued at $85.60 million at market close today, with the company recording a slight decline in shares over the trading session.

Perth playing catch-up

Today’s news, however, is certainly not ground-breaking for the country’s medicinal hemp industry.

Rather, the regulation change brings Western Australia closer in line with eastern states like New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria, who already allow GP-prescribed medicinal cannabis.

However, Aussie cannabis and hemp stocks based in the east can now start making the most of our relaxed western laws.

Big names like MGC Pharma, Althea, Elixional, and Botanix Pharmaceuticals all operate within the medicinal cannabis industry, and as such, any legislation pull-backs widen the potential reach of these stocks.

In just two years, most cannabis businesses have seen customer receipts increase by hundreds of millions of dollars, and as laws ease up more customers become targetable.

Public perception vs legislation

As laws are relaxed around medicinal cannabis use, it seems the Australian public is becoming more accepting of the treatment.

This is further reinforced Drug Free Australia (DFA)’s support of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

The organisation, which is committed to keeping any illicit drugs off Aussie streets and out of federal legislation, has supported medicinal cannabis since 2004. The primary concern from DFA is making sure the medication can always be administered in any manner other than smoking.

With medicinal hemp and cannabis products administered as CBD (cannabidiol) oil, loosened medicinal cannabis laws get the thumbs up from the anti-drug organisation.

Medicinal cannabis and hemp products, however, are not supported by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) or funded by the federal Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme. They are still classified as controlled drugs across the country, meaning the full potential of the product is yet to be unlocked for companies looking to make a buck off the green plant.

Still, the push for eased laws like seen in Perth today could be the start of the legislation changes that bring about the predicted boom in the industry.

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