Construction begins on $160m cannabis farm

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Signs of life: After two years with no activity, the security fences are in and shade houses are going up at the Lemnos cannabis facility. Photo by Daneka Hill

Construction is officially under way on a long-awaited cannabis farm in Lemnos, outside Shepparton.

Locals have seen chain-link fences topped with barbed wire installed along the property and large shade houses are taking shape.

In 2019 news broke that the local farm was slated to become a $160 million hydroponic cannabis farm — making it one of the largest cannabis facilities in the world.

Hopes were high for an economic injection and jobs boost, but shovels failed to hit the ground due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, Australian medical enterprise Cannatrek is moving ahead after a two-year hibernation period.

What’s this: The circular structures are actually roofing supports for future shade houses and behind them is a water tank. Photo by Daneka Hill

Cannatrek chief executive Tommy Huppert said civil works had indeed commenced on ‘grow tunnels’ and ‘security apparatus’.

“First phase will be a $30 million development of outdoor, indoor and glasshouse grow mediums,” Mr Huppert said.

“The 12,000 square metre glasshouse facility will take 12 to 18 months to build, subject to global supply chain issues.”

The site is expected to be operational in 2022 but construction will be ongoing as the facility expands.

“We hope to employ up to 20 personnel this year from the Shepparton region and another 60 persons post-construction of the larger glasshouse,” Mr Huppert said.

The facility will produce cannabis for Australians who have medical approval to use the drug.

Medical cannabis is used on conditions including: chronic pain, childhood epilepsy, autoimmune and neurodegenerative disorders, palliative care and arthritis.

Use of medicinal cannabis in Australia is growing by 10 to 15 per cent each month, according to Mr Huppert.

Some of the Lemnos product will also go to export markets.