Australia aims to become top cannabis exporter

$45 million worth of cannabis uncovered in Australia

The Australian government on Thursday said it aspires to be the world's leading exporter of medicinal cannabis.

The country plans to change its regulations to join Canada and the Netherlands in selling products beyond a domestic market. Uruguay and Israel have announced similar plans, the BBC reported.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the move would also help local patients.

"Our goal is very clear: to give Australian farmers and manufacturers the best shot at being the world's number one exporter of medicinal cannabis," Hunt said.

Australia legalised the use of medicinal cannabis in 2016. Using the drug for recreation remains illegal.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the changes would extend to products including oils, patches, sprays, lozenges and tablets.

Hunt said the change would stimulate the local industry, benefiting Australian patients as much as businesses, the BBC reported.

Earlier this week, California became the largest US state to legalise the use of recreational cannabis.