Examining the Oceania Cannabis Market
By Yona Torres Editor New Frontier Data
New Frontier Data’s most recent report release is an analysis of the budding cannabis market in Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, and the islands that comprise Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.) As the legal cannabis industry expands globally, Oceania serves as another example of significant and economically developed countries, including Australia, making changes to their medical cannabis laws. The estimated annual Total Addressable Market (TAM) in Oceania is a substantial $5.0 billion USD market, with approximately 2.8 million cannabis consumers in the region. In comparison, Australia’s TAM is approximately three-quarters of Canada’s TAM of $6.6 billion USD, reported by New Frontier Data, which is significant for a country with just two-thirds of Canada’s population.
Australia and New Zealand represent the largest addressable cannabis markets in terms of potential revenues. However, Australia’s medical market, while the most significant in the region, is still in its infancy. Patient growth has been slow, with only 1,000 registered patients (as of September 2018) in a country of 24.6 million people. The low patient participation can be attributed to issues in patient access from the complex and time-consuming state and federal patient registration process, and the reluctance of physicians to prescribe cannabis treatment. Australia is implementing initiatives on the patient approval front, and New Frontier Data estimates that Australia’s medical cannabis patient population could reach 330,000 or 1.2% of the total population by 2025.
Australian cannabis companies are gaining investor interest. As publicly-traded Australian companies grow in number, they are attracting investors who are eager to participate early in a federally legal and regulated cannabis market. Investor interest has been especially concentrated in cultivation and production, as Australia lays the groundwork to become a major exporter to the global medical market. Its progressive cannabis laws, evolving medical regulations, and high rates of social acceptance could allow the country to make significant headway in scientific and medical research, while also producing high-quality cultivars to give Australia’s cannabis industry the distinction it needs to stand out in the international market.