One of the first of what’s set to be many medicinal cannabis farms across Australia has announced this week that it’s officially open for business, with plans to begin shipping out product to those in need soon. The Sunshine Coast-based Medifarm are the current frontrunners in an industry that’s primed to take off Down Under.
Situated in a top-secret location within the Sunshine Coast hinterland, Medifarm has been given the green-light to operate by federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, who visited the facility this week as per SMH. Mr. Hunt confirmed that Medifarm received 3 of the 81 licences issued by the federal government last year to legally grow cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Medifarm will be sourcing its plants from Israel, who have a booming medicinal cannabis industry, and will employ 40 staff to work the farm. Already the farm has produced 1.2 tonnes of cannabis, aiming for a yearly target of servicing 3000 patients a year.
This will go a long way to meeting the demand created by some 12,000 prescriptions written for medicinal cannabis since 2016, when the federal government lifted bans on accessing the treatment. Up until recently, the only possible way to source the medicine was from overseas farms.
For patients deemed eligible for medicinal cannabis, Medifarm will be more or less a one stop shop – growing and processing the product as well as producing it for medical consumption.
Speaking of the farm’s opening, Medifarm founder Adam Benjamin stated “We are a proud frontrunner in this space. As for the other 78 licences, good on them, people often ask is it competitive, well, if you can be in the race to supply life-changing medicine to Aussie patients, what an amazing race.”
“It’s very important to maintain supply in the future to patients that we build up our reserves, we have a huge amount that we’re building up so as we come to market our supply chain is continuous and the quality is continuous.”
Mr Benjamin confirmed that the farm would be supplying to local doctors and already have “two harvests out of the four or five growth cycles that can happen in a year”
While the demand is there, and supported with research showing the effects of medicinal cannabis treating pain, the roll out is set to be a slow and cautious process.
“It is a highly-regulated sector and we make no apologies for that, but it’s about ensuring that if the doctors determine the medicine should be available, it can be available,” says Mr. Hunt.
“One of the things everybody would want is for us to operate in an efficient way but in a safe way.”