Melbourne Airport has agreed to fund and build Australia’s largest medicinal cannabis manufacturing facility and lease it to ASX-listed Cann Group.
Shares in the medicinal cannabis grower and product manufacturer had jumped 6.8 per cent to $2.98 by 1430 AEST on Wednesday after the lease agreement was announced.
The company first listed on the ASX in May 2017 at 30 cents a share.
The Melbourne-based manufacturer was also granted Australia’s first commercial permit that month, and includes the Victorian government among its customers.
The industry has been compared to the dotcom boom of the 1990s as state and federal governments begin legalising and investing in the sector.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt in January said he wanted Australia to become ‘the world’s number one exporter of medicinal cannabis’.
A report on the ABC’s Four Corners program in April said major players in the cannabis sector are optimistic cannabis will be legalised for recreational use in Australia now it has been legalised for medicinal purposes.
Cann Group chief executive officer Peter Crock said the Melbourne airport site was ideal for the company as it expands its operations in the burgeoning industry.
‘As per our ongoing strategy, the facility provides Cann with the necessary scale to compete on the global stage in the medicinal cannabis sector,’ he said.
The airport precinct will fund and build the $100 million centre and lease it back to Cann Group, which expects to employ 170 staff at the five hectare site.
Australia Pacific Airports Melbourne chief of property Linc Horton welcomed the agreement and said it was a chance to ‘connect Victoria’s technology industry to the rest of the world’.
The facility will be designed by specialist greenhouse engineers Aurora Larssen Projects.