New facility to make Coast cannabis capital of Australia
AN INNOVATIVE hub for medical cannabis would be established on the Sunshine Coast as part of a bold plan to help Queensland farmers and manufacturers move into the emerging industry.
Thousands of new direct and indirect jobs would be created by a "centre of excellence" for medical cannabis, likely to be located at the University of the Sunshine Coast campus.
Aimed at establishing Queensland as the medical cannabis powerhouse of Australia, the centre would be managed by Medifarm, the state's only manufacturer of the drug.
The company has submitted a proposal to the State Government to establish the centre and has the backing of local federal MP Ted O'Brien.
The facility would need $25 million over five years in startup money but would then be funded by companies once they are up and running.
It can also be revealed Medifarm is just one month away from producing the first medical cannabis in Queensland, which is expected to be available for patients in August.
Under their new plan, the state's farmers, producers, manufacturers and other companies looking to enter the industry would be shown how to source, grow and make the medicine for patients.
The hub would focus on attracting leading medical cannabis companies from around Australia and overseas to benefit state companies, providing a clear distinction from the NSW and Victorian government research centres, which are involved in expensive long-term clinical trials.
Within 15 years, the centre would create more than $500 million in capital investment, $50 million in taxable profits from domestic sales and more than $1 billion in export funds.
Mr O'Brien, the member for Fairfax, said the state needed to think big and be bold to capitalise on a burgeoning market.