Two medical marijuana companies have accelerated plans to build a large cannabis farm in the conservative heartland of Queensland.
The farm will produce 500 tons of medical marijuana annually. The construction plans were accelerated by the merger of two companies. The national and international demand for cannabanoid drugs is increasing. Download the ABC News app for the latest information.
Construction of the facility on the outskirts of Toowoomba is scheduled to begin within six months and will produce 500 tons of marijuana per year with an export value of more than $ 1 billion.
According to Matt Cantelo, CEO of ANTG, a merger of the Australian Australian Natural Therapeutics Group (ANTG) and the Canadian Asterion Cannabis Inc has accelerated construction plans by up to two years.
“We see Australia leading the way in the manufacture of medicinal cannabis,” said Cantelo.
European export possibility
The $ 400 million facility will focus on drug growth, manufacturing and research.
Located near Wellcamp Airport in Toowoomba, the facility can export products overseas.
Australia allows the use of cannabis-derived medicines within strict guidelines. (
ABC north coast: Catherine Marciniak
The Australian government gave the establishment of Asterion major project status in 2019, and the Canadian cannabis company has already received a medical cannabis license, a cannabis research license and a manufacturing license from the Australian Drug Control Office.
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Stephen Van Deventer, CEO of Asterion, said the merger with ANTG fits in with his short and long term strategies.
“This provides Asterion with early revenue and scalability for ANTG,” he said.
ANTG has an existing supply chain and facility in the NSW region as well as access to European export markets.
“It gives the Australian patient market, as well as the overseas market, the opportunity of accessibility, and it gives us the opportunity to grow and meet the growing demand for cannabinoid drugs,” said Cantelo.
Earlier this year, ANTG signed a nine-year contract for US $ 92 million with the German company Cannamedical Pharma to export commercially grown Australian medical cannabis to Europe.
The $ 400 million facility will employ 1,000 people and focus on the growth, manufacture and research of medical marijuana products. (
ABC News: Simon Winter
Rapidly increasing domestic demand
Low-dose medical cannabis is legal to be sold in pharmacies without a prescription in Australia due to new regulations introduced by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in February.
With no product yet with regulatory approvals, it is unlikely that inventory will hit pharmacy shelves by at least the second half of this year.
At the same time, Mr Cantelo said that TGA approvals were on the rise through their special access scheme.
The system enables any general practitioner to contact TGA to prescribe cannabinoid medication to patients.
Last month there were nearly 10,000 approvals under the program, compared with 3,926 at the same time last year, according to the Department of Health.
“We see significant increases of 10 to 20 percent [in demand] Month after month, “said Cantelo.
He said that ANTG’s existing facility in NSW would soon struggle to meet domestic demand, hence the new interest in a mega-farm in Toowoomba.
Mr Cantelo said construction will be done on demand, with the first phase only bringing out a quarter of the facility’s potential.
Toowoomba regional council says a local medical marijuana industry will create businesses and jobs in the area. (
By: ABC Belinda Sanders
The conservative city welcomes marijuana
The Toowoomba region is a rich agricultural region, a politically conservative community and the center of a secure LNP seat.
That didn’t stop the community from supporting plans for a local medical cannabis industry.
“Many people have been shown the benefits of medicinal cannabis regardless of their political views,” said Paul Antonio, Mayor of Toowoomba Regional Council.
Mr Antonio said the project was a boon to local businesses and the community was “excited”.
“This new investment will be amazing for Toowoomba,” he said.
“In the next 30 years we will have an additional 55,000 residents and there will be a growing industrial and commercial sector and new ventures like this in our Toowoomba Trade Gateway will mean a lot.”
In full production, the cannabis farm will employ around 1,000 people.
Australian company Medibis also plans to develop a $ 180 million cannabis facility near Tooowoomba in the future.