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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.

ASX CodeCompanyResearch licenceCultivation licencePermitManufacture licenceSupply and wholesale authorisationState import licenceImport authorisation from ODCImport authorisation from APVMAExport
AEBALGAE.TEC Under applicationUnder application
BDABOD AUSTRALIA YesNSWYes
CPHCRESO PHARMA Via Health House
THCTHE HYDROPONICS COYesYesUnder applicationPlans to apply
MDCMEDLAB CLINICAL YesVia Pharmaceutical Packaging ProfessionalsYesVICYesYes
MXCMGC PHARMACEUTICALSUnder application (with RMIT)Under applicationVia HL Pharma
QBLQUEENSLAND BAUXITE Via Burleigh Heads Cannabis
AC8AUSCANNVia Tasmanian AlkaloidsYesVia Tasmanian AlkaloidsYes
CANCANN GROUPYesYesYesYesVICYesYes
EXLELIXINOLUnder applicationUnder applicationUnder applicationUnder application
CP1CANNPALYesYes
TPETPI ENTERPRISESYesYesYes