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Wonthaggi lab to supply global cannabis market

LOCAL BOOM: The high-tech laboratory at Wonthaggi will employ specialists to help process up to 75,000kg of dried cannabis per annum, creating an oil for pain relief.

MATT DUNN

 

LOCAL farmers may soon have the chance to grow marijuana for a $5 million laboratory in Wonthaggi.   

Situated in the town’s industrial estate, the facility – which has been established by Canadian company, MediPharm – will process up to 75,000kg of dried cannabis annually, feeding a cannabis oil market that is seeing massive growth overseas and in Australia.

“The world needs to understand that cannabis oil is something that’s going to be around forever. This is the start of a revolution, so to speak,” managing director Warren Everitt said.

The former Inverloch resident and Wonthaggi Secondary College student said Wonthaggi was the smart choice when it came to the location of the lab.

“When you think about the cultivation that is needed for it to function, ultimately, geographically, it’s in a handy location for farmers who want to diversify,” he said. 

“If you want to get into the industry, you actually need the means to get the product or sell it.

“We’re the equivalent of a Coles or Woolworths to a farmer, because we buy the product wholesale from farmers and process it into a downstream finished product.”

Three supply agreements have been signed so far, but the company is looking for more suppliers across the country, including South Gippsland.

Because regulations in Australia do not permit the sale of smoke-able medical cannabis, all cultivators must supply a licensed processor, like MediPharm.

So far seven people have been hired for the Wonthaggi arm of the business. They include research-oriented scientists and technicians, as well as professionals in quality assurance, law, finance and business development.

A spokesperson from the company’s headquarters in Ontario, Canada could not say how many people may eventually be employed at the laboratory, though “the regional government (Bass Coast Shire Council) is seeing this as a sizable economic development opportunity”.

“If you look at job creation in mature cannabis markets in North America, this industry is creating significant new employment and tax revenue for legal jurisdictions,” she said.

It’s fair to say things have been moving fast for the company of late. 

While MediPharm only received its Australian manufacturing licence in August this year, the construction of the Wonthaggi laboratory is expected to be completed in the next few months. 

Manufacture of cannabis oil should occur before the end of 2019, subject to relevant authorisations and a certification from the Therapeutic Goods Association of Australia.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=29995

Posted by on Sep 13 2019. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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