Tasmanian Botanics is on course to become one of Australia’s largest home-grown suppliers of medicinal cannabis after it began cultivating at its new 10-chamber, 1.1 hectare greenhouse.

Plants are growing in four of the chambers, with the company expecting to average one harvest every three weeks.

Two further chambers are likely to be up and running in April – one of which will be set aside for the vegetative phase of the growing cycle – reducing the time between harvests to just two weeks.

Growing and harvesting is underway at Tasmanian Botanics’ new 1.1 hectare greenhouse near Hobart

A final phase will see the installation of blackout curtains in the remaining four chambers over the winter, enabling Tasmanian Botanics to grow two seasonal crops in spring/summer 2024/25.

The commencement of cannabis cultivation at the facility comes two years after the project was put on hold by then new chief executive Dan Howard.

At the time, in late 2021, the former Tilray and Valens executive wanted to maximise production at its existing facility before ploughing millions into a major upgrade.

With operations now underway, the firm anticipates it will produce 175-200kg of dried flower in each chamber harvest, with the capacity growth enabling it to launch 28g jars of dried flower.

“We should have 3,000-4,000kg of dried, trimmed flower out of the greenhouse this calendar year and then up to 1,500kg of outdoor flower,” Howard said. “All of the capacity will be used for dried flower and we are focusing our first harvests on existing products which will enable us to build inventory and launch 28-gram versions of Amethyst, Jade and Opal.

“But there is always byproduct that is used for extraction. And with our recently expanded extraction capacity we’ve been able to leverage the increased THC biomass to launch our new THC 50 oral liquid.”

The company will also launch a new in-house bred cultivar in April, he said.

Meanwhile, the old greenhouse will now serve as the mother plant nursery.

“We will be able to keep enough mothers to have up to six active strains at a given time,” Howard said, adding it will start with four and “a couple of others in commercial scale trials”.

An aerial shot of Tasmanian Botanics’ new greenhouse

Howard said the new greenhouse is “on par with the largest operating greenhouse in the country”.

“We also believe we have some advantages being in Tasmania, specifically a climate that doesn’t require expensive dehumidification and cooling,” he said.

“Being the only completely vertically integrated company in Australia, we also don’t rely on any outside manufacturing or extraction partners.

“Up to this point our biggest bottleneck has been flower supply, but that shouldn’t be a problem going forward.

“We expect to be the number one Australian-grown brand by the end of 2024 and expect to be challenging even the largest brands who import all of their product and don’t do their own manufacturing.”

Steve has reported for a number of consumer and B2B titles over a journalism career spanning more than three decades. He is a regulator contributor to health journal, The Medical Republic, writing on...

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