Start-up Invests $30m in Victoria's Medicinal Cannabis Industry


Two Canadian companies have announced plans to invest in Victoria's medicinal cannabis industry, further boosting the state’s plan to become the “medicinal cannabis hub of the southern hemisphere”.

Cannatrek announced a $30 million investment which will see it expand its Australian production and manufacturing in Victoria, through a partnership with Toronto listed company CannTrust.

The move will create up to 75 new local jobs in Shepparton and Latrobe University.

While Cronos Australia announced the state will become home for its Asia-Pacific headquarters with plans to establish a state-of-the art research and development centre, expecting to create around 120 new jobs.

Cronos Australia will establish a local cultivation, manufacturing and research facility in Victoria across the next five years.

The company, which is connected to Canada-based Cronos Group - the first cannabis company listed on the Nasdaq, says its production facility will span a 120-acre site in Central Victoria.

Related: The Green Revolution: Developing Buildings that Heal

The Victorian government has set the ambitious goal for Victoria to supply half of Australia’s medicinal cannabis by 2028.Facebook

Cannatrek’s expansion will create up to 65 roles at a new Shepparton cultivation and manufacturing facility and around 10 roles at the company’s Australian headquarters at the La Trobe University campus at Bundoora.

Cannatrek chief executive Tommy Huppert said regional Victoria is “blessed with abundant daylight”, and has the ideal climate for growing the plant.

Huppert says the plan is for the company to manufacture, cultivate and produce affordable medicines to patients.

Cannatrek is also working towards a research and education partnership with La Trobe University.

Attracting business investment is a major step towards the state government’s Medical Cannabis Industry Development Plan, unveiled last year, which outlines a strategy to grow Victoria’s medicinal cannabis industry into an established sector.

The plan would see Victoria supplying half of the nation’s medicinal cannabis by 2028, as well as creating 500 jobs in the state.

Victoria was Australia’s first state to legalise access to medicinal cannabis for patients in exceptional circumstances in 2016.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved around 3200 applications under a special access scheme for medicinal cann­abis.

While it is not approved by TGA, it can be accessed through the Special Access Scheme once prescribed by an approved doctor.

The real estate opportunities

At The Urban Developer's Urbanity conference last year, Hemp Harvests' Tim Crow and Budding Tech's Adam Miller spoke about the emerging cannabis industry and its impact on real estate and construction in Australia and New Zealand.

Last year Australia saw one of the first major transactions involving a cannabis-related business commit to a lease.

Melbourne airport agreed to fund and build a medicinal cannabis manufacturing facility, spanning a five-hectare site for a 40,000sq m grow facility, leasing it to ASX-listed Cann Group.

While privately-held Queensland-based Medifarm, led by Adam Benjamin, has been busy constructing a facility in an undisclosed location on the Sunshine Coast.


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