Australia needs a medicinal cannabis industry association

Over the past few weeks I’ve been travelling the country with Medical Cannabis Research Australia, delivering talks to health professionals on medicinal cannabis.

As the resident industry expert and ‘cannabis economist’, as Paul and Sharlene like to call me, I spoke about the shape, nature and trajectory of the industry in Australia, and around the world, and touched on some of the challenges we are facing.

Along with the challenges associated with patient access, I stressed the current lack of coordination in the industry and the need for a coherent message to the public and law makers through an industry association.

Thankfully, an industry association is soon to be announced. So, I’ve been thinking: what are the best ways to organise the industry through an association, and how can we make sure it succeeds?

Well, first of all, what would the goals be? Resource sharing, networking, and the centralisation of knowledge would be valuable. But this can already be done through existing informal networks and platforms like LinkedIn.

The real power of an industry body is the social, political and economic power it possesses by virtue of its members. By funnelling efforts towards a few, specific goals, industry groups are much more likely to lobby successfully for things like patient access expansion and the lifting of trade restrictions.

By having a seat at the regulatory table, industry representatives are able to achieve great things on behalf of their members. But this kind of representation is only effective when there is some level of agreement on which issues to pursue.

To that end, I’m keen to hear from Australian and international industry members about what they think the priorities of such a group should be.

If you have a moment, please shoot me an email and let me know the top three issues you would want addressed by an Australian medicinal cannabis industry body: