Canada is the only G8 Country that does not cultivate poppies or process narcotic raw materials into pharmaceutical ingredients for medical use. Canada’s annual retail sales of medication derived from poppies was valued at $565 million for one year ending September 1, 2009, and Canada is the largest importer of codeine in the world, second only behind the United States.
Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States are involved in processing narcotic raw materials into medications to be used locally. The UK and Russia are involved in cultivation and processing. The countries of Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Hungary, Iran, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom all cultivate morphine poppies for pharmaceuticals. Spain, France and Australia cultivate thebaine poppy for conversion to pharmaceuticals.
AUSTRALIA, FRANCE and the UK
Australia and France have been cultivating morphine poppies for 40 years. Morphine poppy has a much higher risk of diversion than thebaine poppy. Even with the higher risk of morphine poppy production, there have been no significant diversion problems identified in these two countries.
In 2006 Australia licensed a newly-formed pharmaceutical company to begin contracting and processing poppies. In the first year of production, the company secured $100 million in orders and poppy planting in Australia increased from 8,500 hectares to 25,000 hectares in five years. In 2001, the UK planted its first crop of morphine poppies in Southampton, UK. Farmers are now planting 4,000 plus hectares of morphine poppies annually.
In 2009, Australian grower Tasmanian Alkaloids began expansion trials in New Zealand. Within one year Tasmanian Alkaloid press-released that they have begun field trials in New Zealand to increase acreage. Australia intends to increase thebaine acreage by 77 percent in 2011 to meet current demand.