GOOD OIL: Medifarm first medicinal cannabis plants grown at the facility.
GOOD OIL: Medifarm first medicinal cannabis plants grown at the facility. Patrick Woods

First look at Coast's medicinal marijuana crop

THE seeds have been planted, the flowers are blooming and soon will be shelf-ready for the Sunshine Coast to be at the forefront of world leading medical cannabis.

By early next year, Australian doctors will be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis grown on the Coast at Medifarm.

It is the first Australian company to be federally licensed to cultivate and manufacture medicinal marijuana products.

Unlike some of the industry counterparts, Medifarm uses purpose-built technology from Israel, to deliver the top-tier products to the world.

It will mean Australians with conditions like epilepsy, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis or those needing paediatric care, can be cared for with locally made medicine.

Touring through its top-secret facility, Medifarm managing director Adam Benjamin said it was the world-leading genetics that was the difference maker.


"We exclusively use fast-tracked, pioneer technology from Israel which has been the world leader for 12 years," Mr Benjamin said.

"Countries move into this space because they see the evidence, and we will play a pivotal role in it.

"Soon other countries will follow.

"We are aiming for early 2019 and we believe we are on track for this."

Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien said he "unashamedly" supported Medifarm and said it had hit an industry "sweet spot".

"This is health meets agriculture, two things Australia does very well," Mr O'Brien said.


"This is a multi-million dollar industry and Australia will be a world leader over time, with the Coast on the forefront of it.

"The seeds have been germinated and now under cultivation.

"Medifarm have been handed federal licences to cultivate and we will soon see product coming to the market.

"It is most important to ensure we have the best quality the world can provide and we do. It is the highest standard."

Mr Benjamin said with a touch of irony that this was the very same medicine that was once used world-wide for centuries.

"If you turn to look at the history books, up until 1937, cannabis was the most widely-prescribed medicine," Mr Benjamin said.

"But the American Doctors Association went ballistic. They decided to stop doctors from prescribing it.

"The 1898 manual, is still the leading manual and the treatment for medical cannabis back then is still the same now."


So how does it work?

Medifarm horticulturist Steffen Kraeshaar explains the process, step by step.

  • "Mother" plants in pots from Israel start off the process - this is where the magic happens.
  • The plants are left in light for 18 hours per day to grow.
  • Across a two-month period they are left to grow, before the stems of the flowers are cut off. If they are allowed to flower the plant's life cycle is over.
  • Those flowers are then re-planted, re-planted again, over and over until the the nursery is full.
  • They are then taken to a hardening room, where a filter system from below drenches them to be planted again.
  • The first batch will take about 70 days from start to the finished cannabis oil product which will be dispatched in 10ml bottles.
  • Average production time per batch will usually be about 48 days, with the first batch larger as the mother lode is produced.

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