Peek into mar­i­juana farm

MediFarm’s plan­ta­tion now al­most com­pleted

Central and North Rural Weekly - - FIND A - Chloe Lyons news@ru­ral­weekly.com

IN AN Aus­tralian first, the me­dia has been granted an ex­clu­sive look in­side a medic­i­nal mar­i­juana farm.

The Sun­shine Coast’s MediFarm, which is still un­der con­struc­tion, is the first of its kind in the state and is ex­pected to have prod­uct on the mar­ket by the first quar­ter of next year.

Se­crecy was key for the oper­a­tion with re­porters’ phones re­quired to have aero­plane mode turned on and lo­ca­tion ser­vices turned off – lest a stray Tweet or Face­book post be­tray the farm’s ad­dress.

It’s not just in the in­ter­est of prevent­ing rub­ber­neck­ers. MediFarm’s li­cence from the Of­fice of Drug Con­trol is de­pen­dent on its abil­ity to keep un­der the radar.

Founder Adam Ben­jamin said se­nior po­lice and mil­i­tary per­son­nel had ad­vised on se­cu­rity for the farm, which would be con­stantly mon­i­tored.

“MediFarm is not al­lowed to... ad­ver­tise where we are,” he said.

“But if some­one hap­pens to find out, we be­lieve with our se­cu­rity mea­sures and counter mea­sures, we’ll be right.”

Speak­ing from out­side an un­der-con­struc­tion green­house, Mr Ben­jamin said bi­o­log­i­cal mea­sures in place would al­low the cul­ti­va­tion of “strictly con­trolled medicine”, much like tra­di­tional medicines on the mar­ket.

“This is about hav­ing a plant that can be grown iden­ti­cally across thou­sands of plants day in and day out,” he said.

“Much as you would with Panadol, when you go and get some­thing you ex­pect that what you’re be­ing pre­scribed is what you’re get­ting and that’s the same with medic­i­nal cannabis.”

MediFarm is in the unique po­si­tion of be­ing able to over­see the mar­i­juana from plant to prod­uct with two li­cences which al­low the com­pany to cul­ti­vate, pro­duce

❝We’ll be im­port­ing our first cut­tings from over­seas... — Adam Ben­jamin

and man­u­fac­ture.

Mr Ben­jamin could not dis­close the amount of prod­uct to be grown at the fa­cil­ity, but pre­dicted there would be enough to sup­ply 5000 pa­tients.

“We’ll be im­port­ing our first cut­tings from over­seas, but af­ter that hap­pens we be­come self-suf­fi­cient,” he said.

“What MediFarm will be do­ing is pro­duc­ing oils and that’s through a process of ex­trac­tion.”

This farm has thrust the Sun­shine Coast into an in­ter­na­tional $200 bil­lion in­dus­try, but Mr Ben­jamin said the first 12 months would be spent tend­ing to lo­cal cus­tomers.

“Medifarm would like to fo­cus on Queens­land in the first year of pro­duc­tion,” he said.

“We do have in­quiries from all over Australia.

“There’s huge room for growth, you just have to look over­seas.”

With the help of Tikun Olam, an Is­raeli com­pany at the fore­front of the in­dus­try, Mr Ben­jamin said MediFarm would be able to offer Aus­tralian pa­tients “the best in medic­i­nal cannabis”.

The com­pa­nies are work­ing in ex­clu­sive part­ner­ship with one an­other, giv­ing MediFarm ac­cess to more than a decade of ex­pe­ri­ence in medic­i­nal mar­i­juana.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

NEW VEN­TURE: The me­dia has been al­lowed to tour MediFarm’s Sun­shine Coast plan­ta­tion.

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