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  • Jonathan Hair

Medicinal cannabis farm allows rare glimpse into construction at secret Queensland location

Photo: The farm is currently under construction with greenhouses still being built. (ABC News: Jonathan Hair) A medicinal cannabis farm under construction in Queensland has opened its doors for the first time to offer an exclusive glimpse of its top-secret operation. Medifarm, based on the state's Sunshine Coast, has a rare licence granted by the Federal Government to cultivate, produce and manufacture medicinal cannabis. When the farm is up and running, it will produce cannabis oil for Australians with medical conditions. Strict security arrangements are in place to make sure the location of the farm is not compromised. Founder Adam Benjamin said security was paramount when growing such a controversial crop. "We offered our security solutions which really focused on no diversions — which means if there was a potential threat out there, or even product that moves from the farm into distribution, it needs to at all times be tracked and accounted for," he said. "So senior police, senior military personnel were brought in to advise, and we think we got it right."

Photo: Mr Benjamin said security was paramount when growing such a controversial crop. (ABC News: Jonathan Hair) It is the first time an Australian medicinal cannabis farm has allowed the media to visit. Non-disclosure forms had to be signed before reporters were taken in a convoy to the site. Farm staff also undergo stringent checks before they are allowed to work there. "All staff and all future staff go through a checklist, including Australian Federal Police background checks," Mr Benjamin said. While exact security arrangements cannot be discussed, the site is guarded 24/7. But Mr Benjamin conceded there was always the potential someone could stumble across its location. "We are doing this on Earth, so there is the potential," he said. "If someone was to find out, we believe our security measures and our counter measures will be right — it's very James Bond … but we came to market through the law and we're going to continue through the law." Hope first crop ready early next year The farm is currently under construction with greenhouses still being built. But it is hoped the first crop will be planted later this year. From there, the company is aiming to harvest four times a year, which could help thousands of people. "Here we believe that what we are growing could service 5,000 patients," Mr Benjamin said. "Potentially in Queensland, you're looking at 100,000 patients who could gain benefit from this as a medicine. "We will have product cultivated and ready for distribution in the first quarter next year."

Photo: Strict security is in place to make sure the farm's location is not compromised. (ABC News: Jonathan Hair) Originally published here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-31/medifarm-medicinal-marijuana-farm-qld-sunshine-coast/8759502

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