$10m plan: ‘World’s biggest’ cannabis farm in Toowoomba
TOOWOOMBA could be on the cusp of a green revolution after a Canadian-based company announced it would invest at least $10 million into a sprawling medicinal cannabis growing facility on the city's outskirts.
Asterion Cannabis' Australian subsidiary revealed it reached the eight-figure deal for land in Wellcamp owned by Wagners Properties Pty Ltd last month, with ambitious plans to produce 500,000kg of cannabis a year from the site if given the go-ahead.
The company says the 75-hectare project will be powered entirely by renewable energy and will house a "research and development facility for the development of next generation cannabis products".
If built, it would be only one of a handful licensed to grow the restricted drug in Queensland.
Last year, the company said a 40 hectare site it was proposing would be "the world's biggest", the potential Wellcamp development will be almost twice as big.
"(We) intend that the production facility will materially advance the agricultural science of medical cannabis and, to that end, the facility is intended to ... provide a greater cultivation footprint, increase efficiency, lower costs and yield disease-free plantlets," a statement released by Asterion claimed.
Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio would not detail whether talks had begun between the company and council, but said medicinal cannabis and other shedded horticulture would be "the future" of the region's agriculture industry.
"This will employ a lot of people," Cr Antonio said.
"As far as labour is concerned this is going to require a lot of it.
"We support it and we think it is a big part of the future."
Asterion has not yet detailed a figure for jobs the project could bring to the region, though its total investment in the facility is expected to soar past the $10 million it has already paid for the land.
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About 30 hectares of that land will consist of high-tech greenhouses.
"I think we have got to accept the fact that it is a part of our future," Cr Antonio said.
"It really is an emerging industry, it could be quite important to the economic future of this region."