Poppy Grower Tasmanian Alkaloids to Expand into Medicinal Cannabis in Joint-Venture Deal with AusCann

Poppy Grower Tasmanian Alkaloids to Expand into Medicinal Cannabis in Joint-Venture Deal with AusCann
credit:The Mercury

A TASMANIAN poppy processor is set to become a major cannabis producer as well through a partnership to cultivate the crop and make medicinal cannabis products at its processing facility at Westbury.

Medicinal cannabis producer AusCann will tell the Australian Stock Exchange this morning that it has joined forces with Tasmania Alkaloids — which produces 40 per cent of the world’s opiate stock — to produce a local cannabis crop and manufacture products for the Australian and international markets.

AusCann secured a cultivating licence from the Office of Drug Control last week.

It now needs to secure a Tasmanian licence to cultivate and manufacture medicinal cannabis. If successful, it will be the second company to do so.

In April, Tasmanian Botanics became the first Australian company to be granted the three licences needed to cultivate the drug for medicinal purposes under legislative changes that came into force in October 2016.

Tasmania Alkaloids CEO Doug Blackaby said moving into medicinal cannabis would boost the company’s capability of being a world leader in the extraction and purification of high-value, plant-derived products as well as research and development.

Poppy processor Tasmanian Alkaloids’ plant at Westbury in northern Tasmania.

“We are excited to work with Auscann to bring another plant based medicine to patients,” he said.

Mr Blackaby said Tasmania Alkaloids had decided to enter the medicinal cannabis market last year when the Federal Government legalised its cultivation and manufacture.

AusCann said it would continue to import cannabis from its North American partner Canopy Growth Corporation until the Australian joint venture started operating.

AusCann managing director Elaine Darby said the partnership with Tasmanian Alkaloids would build on its position in the Australian market.

“Tasmanian Alkaloids are the perfect partner and strategic fit for AusCann given their expertise in the cultivation, manufacture and distribution of therapeutic pain products within Australia,” Ms Darby said.

“It is a huge endorsement of cannabinoids going mainstream when the major opioid producers are moving into the space. It clearly shows the pharmaceutical companies are searching for stable, high quality supply of cannabinoids to complement their opioid product range.”

The State Government is examining a Controlled Access Scheme allowing Tasmanians with serious, unresponsive medical conditions, to access medical cannabis products when prescribed by a specialist doctor.