Medicinal marijuana could soon be grown on the Sunshine Coast.
Medicinal marijuana could soon be grown on the Sunshine Coast. Rob Williams

Military, police help secure Coast's medical cannabis crops

THE company poised to create a $100 million a year medicinal cannabis industry on the Sunshine Coast is applying for three Federal Government licences to grow, manufacture and research the product

But where on the Sunshine Coast Medifarm will base its headquarters and grow the product, which is illegal for recreational use, is top secret .

Medifarm's Adam Benjamin said he couldn't advise where the property was.

"The Sunshine Coast Council and police have advised us not to for security reasons as this is paramount in licensing," he said.

"The council is very supportive of it in this region.

"It is close enough to health infrastructure to make the medication accessible for patients."

Mr Benjamin said Medifarm was ready to begin submitting its application for the licences after the Narcotic Drug Amendment Act 2016 came into force on Sunday.


Adam Benjamin of Medifarm
Adam Benjamin of Medifarm John McCutcheon

The Act provides the framework for the applications to manufacture, research and cultivate the product and the application process was opened at "midnight on Saturday".

While Medifarm was still going through the application process, Mr Benjamin was confident the company would be ready to supply product to the market "mid next year" if the licences were approved.

"To grow the stuff roughly it takes 70 days from beginning to manufacturing process."

Marijuana remains illegal for recreational use which is why security will be paramount to the licencing process.

Mr Benjamin was confident Medifarm was in a position to insure its product was kept under tight security.

"We have had senior police officers do site visits and we have worked closely with them," he said.

"We have also been in consultation with senior military to make sure we have done everything right."

The company, made up of Sunshine Coast investors, has secured financial backing from a "leading international medicinal cannabis company".

"It will be an Australia-owned and controlling company with international partners and stakeholders," he said.

"It's growth trajectory is exponential."

The Federal Government has estimated it would only require two hectares of cannabis grown in a greenhouse to supply the country's demand in the first year.

"It's a highly efficient crop," he said.

Medifarm expected it would be able to cater for a "significant" portion of this.

While the benefits of medicinal cannabis have been linked to the treatment of epilepsy, asthma and palliative care, Mr Benjamin was hopeful he could extend research into a new, untested area for Australia.

He hoped it could be used for post traumatic stress disorder.

"It is my strong passion to provide solutions for PTSD," he said.

"Our international partners already have had a successful treatment program (in PTSD) and it is one of my interests."

If Medifarm gets the research licences, Mr Benjamin was hopeful it could become the first in Australia to investigate benefits in this field.

"The Queensland Government has provided the most progressive framework in the country and we are blessed with some of the best climate in the world."

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