The Giant Murray Cod has a new competitor for ‘best-kept secret’ in Swan Hill – the town’s new medical cannabis plantation.
According to the ABC, a secret cannabis cultivation facility is growing one of Australia’s first fully outdoor crops in North-West Victoria this winter. If successful, the crop will deliver lower-cost cannabis medications Australia wide.
Despite over 50,000 Australians currently having access to cannabis medications, no medications have been added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Without PBS subsidy, cannabis medications are costing Australians an arm, a leg, and a kidney – at an average of $436 per month, per patient.
Growing cannabis outdoors will cut this cost long-term as cultivators like Murray Meds can keep costs down by operating with limited infrastructure. According to managing director Nan-Maree Schoerie, the company is using regenerative farming, solar panels, and quality soil to reduce expenses.
The cost of growing outdoors is significantly lower. And so, it’s much more of a traditional crop. We’re really focused on sustainable farming.
At their secret cultivation facility, Schoerie and her team have been experimenting with planting five different cannabis strains exposed and outside. While cannabis crops are normally planted in September or October, the Swan Hill team only commenced planting in April due to seed delays.
The crop will be harvested once it’s grown to one-and-a-half to two metres tall, taking approximately 12 weeks. It will then be sent to an extractor to siphon the cannabinoids from the plant. In future, crops will then be formulated into their THC and CBD and used in cannabis medications.
While the August crop may not make it into medicine, its success will prove that Australian cannabis can be grown outdoors without medical-cannabis-mayhem (like it’s already been done for years in the black market).
In the meantime, this secret will have to be kept between us, the ABC and the entire Australian public until Murray Meds expand their operation further.