Australia’s cannabis licensing authority is hiring more staff to reduce bottlenecks and delays in licensing applications.

Aussie pot executives have told Stockhead the wait time for approvals has blown out to eight months after authorities were overwhelmed with applications, when they were only expecting a handful.

>> Scroll down for a list of the ASX companies with licences

A spokeswoman for the Federal Department of Health says they’ve granted 44 licences to date to 27 entities.

“The volume of applications for cannabis licences received by the Office of Drug Control has exceeded what was expected,” she told Stockhead.

“Over 170 licence applications have been received since the legislation was enacted in November 2016, with only around 70 still being assessed.

“To date only a small number of those licence holders are in active production as many licensees are still undertaking infrastructure development – although production capability has been coming on line more rapidly in recent months.”

She says applications are assessed in the order they are received.

They are “doing a number of things” to speed up the process, including employing more staff and reviewing their processes.

The problem is that the ODC can’t just say yes or no based on plans presented.

They also have to consider security arrangements, do background checks to ensure the applicants are “fit and proper people” who don’t have prior convictions or associations with illegal cannabis, and liaise with state, territory and federal law enforcement and security agencies.

This week Medlab Clinical was the first listed company to receive a new licence in months.

Ticker Company Research licence Cultivation licence Permit Manufacturing licence State import licence Import authorisation from the ODC Import authorisation from APVMA Export
AEB ALGAE.TEC Applied for
BDA BOD AUSTRALIA NSW 1 To apply for
BOT BOTANIX PHARMACEUTICALS
CPH CRESO PHARMA Via Health House
THC THE HYDROPONICS CO 1 1 Under application NSW 1 To apply for
MDC MEDLAB CLINICAL 1 VIC 1
MXC MGC PHARMACEUTICALS Applied for alongside RMIT Applied for Via HL Pharma
MMJ MMJ PHYTOTECH Via HL Pharma
QBL QUEENSLAND BAUXITE Via Burleigh Heads Cannabis Applied for
AC8 AUSCANN 1 1 1
CAN CANN GROUP 1 1 1 VIC 1 1
EXL ELIXINOL Applied for Applied for Applied for Applied for
CP1 CANNPAL 1 1