There was more good news for Tasmania yesterday after ECS Botanics announced the development of a A$2.9m outdoor medicinal cannabis project at its wholly owned site in the northern part of the state.

The three-stage Medicinal Cannabis Project will give it the ability to grow up to 32,500kg of dry flower each year on 325,000 square meters of land.

In year one, ECS will grow medicinal CBD plants before broadening out to cultivate THC plants from year two onwards.

The company aims to have the facility built and approved by the Office of Drug Control in time for the December 2020 planting window.

Stage one will see the majority of the infrastructure built at a cost of $1.7m, funded by a recent capital raising and existing revenues. ECS is exploring options to fund stages two and three including a further capital raise and government grants.

“We are applying our skills in growing cannabis with a vision of where the industry is headed.”

ECS Botanics managing director Alex Keach

The news comes a day after Tasmanian Alkaloid officially opened its new medical grade cannabinoids operation in Westbury.

ECS Botanics managing director Alex Keach said outdoor growing would make medicinal cannabis more affordable for patients and represented the future for the Australian industry.

He added: “We know the plant thrives in its natural environment. Tasmania has leant a lot in cultivating pharmaceutical ingredients outdoors and in the extraction of these plants. Applying a similar framework to the medicinal cannabis industry is the most practical way to lower the cost of production and make patient access affordable.

“We believe the power prices and cost of labour in Australia are restrictive to the business case of growing indoor long term, so we are applying our skills in growing cannabis with a vision of where the industry is headed.”

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  1. While both ECS Botanical and Tas Alkaloids entering the medicinal cannabis market and basing themselves in Tasmania is fantastic for both the medical cannabis industry as a whole and medical cannabis patients, this Tasmanian Government’s approach is rather disingenuous. There are very few Tasmanian medical cannabis patients due to the extremely difficult nature of obtaining a prescription here in Tassie. There are no cannabis clinics, no authorised prescribing Doctors as all potential patients need to be seen by a specialist within the Tasmanian Hospital Specialist Clinic system and they are neither in favour of its medical use or willing to script even cancer pain patients, MS patients or severely epileptic people. It’s a real kick in the face to those who want to access this new medicine to see the Government push and subsidise medical cannabis as an agricultural industry but not a health-related service for the people/patients to use or access. Anywhere else in Australia an authorised prescriber can apply to the TGA for authority to prescribe and not require a specialist second opinion. This step was recently removed by all states in Australia and in New Zealand, but not here in Tasmania, as per usual.

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