REVEALED: Inside the Coast's medicinal marijuana farm
IN AN Australian first, the media has been granted an exclusive look inside a medicinal marijuana farm.
The Sunshine Coast's MediFarm, which is still under construction, is the first of its kind in the state and is expected to have product on the market by the first quarter of 2018.
Secrecy was key for the operation with reporters' phones required to have aeroplane mode turned on and location services turned off - lest a stray Tweet or Facebook post betray the farm's address.
It's not just in the interest of preventing rubberneckers, MediFarm's licence from the Office of Drug Control is dependent on its ability to keep under the radar.
Founder Adam Benjamin said senior police and military personnel have advised on security for the farm which would be subject to constant monitoring.
"MediFarm is not allowed to... advertise where we are," he said.
"But if someone happens to find out, we believe with our security measures and counter measures, we'll be right."
Speaking from outside an under-construction greenhouse, Mr Benjamin said biological measures in place would allow the cultivation of "strictly controlled medicine", much like traditional medicines on the market.
"This is about having a plant that can be grown identically across thousands of plants day in and day out," he said.
"Much as you would with Panadol, when you go and get something you expect that what you're being prescribed is what you're getting and that's the same with medicinal cannabis."
MediFarm is in the unique position of being able to oversee the marijuana from plant to product with two licences which allow the company to cultivate, produce and manufacture.
Mr Benjamin had to keep mum on the amount of plants to be grown at the facility, but said he predicted there would be enough to supply 5000 patients.
"We'll be importing our first cuttings from overseas, but after that happens we become self sufficient," he said.
"What MediFarm will be doing is producing oils and that's through a process of extraction."
This farm has thrust the Sunshine Coast into an international $200 billion industry, but Mr Benjamin said the first 12 months would be spent tending to local customers.
"Medifarm would like to focus on Queensland in the first year of production," he said.
"We do have inquiries from all over Australia.
"There's huge room for growth, you just have to look overseas."
With the help of Tikun Olam, an Israeli company at the forefront of the industry, Mr Benjamin said MediFarm would be able to offer Australian patients "the best in medicinal cannabis".
The companies are working in exclusive partnership with one another, giving MediFarm access to more than a decade of experience in medicinal marijuana.