A medical cannabis facility could be built in Ballina, pending approvals.
A medical cannabis facility could be built in Ballina, pending approvals. Bill North

Major medical cannabis hub planned for Ballina

A MEDICAL cannabis company is planning to build a 30,000sqm production and manufacturing site in the Ballina Shire.

Ken Charteris, chief executive of Australian-founded company The Hydroponics Company, also known as THC Global, confirmed the plans for the company's Northern Rivers facilities.

"THC Global has a production and manufacturing site with Jenbrook, in Ballina," Mr Chateris confirmed to investors in a report published by The Green Fund, a global cannabis investment online resource.

The main greenhouse is expected to produce more than 50,000kg annually in the first stage of production.

"The company expects to complete the build out of the entire facility (which is not just one green house, but a full-scale cultivation facility with multiple greenhouses, and multiple other processing facilities) in the next six to 12 months as licencing and approvals progress," Mr Chateris explained.

The site's exact location cannot be made public, but it is planned to become the primary cultivation facility for the group.

"(THC Global) has entered into a long-term lease over the land (with Jenbrook) and will be the sole owner of the facility through its wholly owned subsidiary, THC Pharma Pty Ltd," Mr Charteris said.

THC Global is banking on harvesting its first crop by late 2019 or early 2020, pending licensing approval.

The company has launched the required licensing procedure with the NSW Office of Drug Control, the first step before launching a development application with Ballina Shire Council for the construction of the facility.

Australian-founded company THC Global is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Mr Charteris said the majority of the firm's 6500-plus shareholders were Australians.

"Many of whom are mum-and-dad investors, self-managed super funds, and especially young people who are interested in seeing the development of a real cannabis industry in Australia," he said.

The chief executive was unable to offer details on how many jobs will be offered at the site or what types of roles will they be.

"Whilst we can't yet divulge this information as our staffing levels and efficiency remains commercial-in-confidence, THC Global, as an Australian listed company managed by Australian directors, strongly believes in promoting Australian jobs and the Australian cannabis sector," he said.

"As we have done in our other facilities such as in Bundaberg, Queensland, we will seek to employ local persons where we can, where the expertise is there.

"The Office of Drug Control has strict rules on making sure that persons are fit and proper to work at a facility of this nature such as no prior drug use or addictions, etc.

"We can say that we will look to local universities and other educational institutions to see if there are opportunities to support Australian students looking to build experience and expertise in this area."

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