Australian grower expands 'mindfully' to meet market demand

Australia is making significant steps into the cannabis industry. While it is still yet to unleash its full export potential, some promising opportunities are coming up locally as well. For instance, the possibility of selling over-the-counter CBD products in pharmacies. And some growers have been working on some innovative CBD products that nicely fit this new category. One of these growers is Cann Group. “We are an Australian manufacturer and grower of medical cannabis,” says Angus Murray, Cultivation Manager at Cann Group. The company was the first firm to obtain a license back in 2017. Before they started growing, there was quite some work to do.

Pheno-hunting and genetics screening 
Historically, Cann Group has operated two facilities, one R&D facility, and one production facility. “However, our third facility is the  Mildura facility, which has been in construction up until this year and is now operational,” Angus continues. “With our R&D, we have been doing many projects on cutting edge genetics, tissue culture, and breeding.” These projects have been carried out by Cann Group together with several partners, including education institutions like La Trobe University.

While those projects were more focused on better understanding the complexity of cannabis plants, what Cann Group is doing at the Mildura facility is a different beast entirely. “For Mildura, the pheno-hunting and genetic screening is focused on large-scale high output,” Angus points out. “In fact, for a commercial grower, the most important properties for me personally of a cultivar are those that make them more resistant to pests and pathogens while ensuring a high yield. We are looking for robust and pest-free cultivars that produce“,” he continues. What truly differentiates legal cannabis from the legacy market is indeed the broader novel formulations for chemovars and diversity required by pharma. “The legacy market was all about strong cannabis genetics; everyone loves those legacy cultivars,” says Angus. “But the medicinal market is something else. We have testing and screening tools now. It’s about producing a safe, consistent medicine, and it just doesn’t make much sense to solely focus on increasing THC. As of now, it’s about finding novel formulations along with those classical cannabis traits like potency” ”It’s exciting because the Australian market is increasingly dominated by dried flower consumption, which provides the opportunity for differentiated cultivars with novel cannabinoids and terpenes - unique lines.”

A bit glasshouse, a bit indoor
Cann Group succeeds in meeting these high standards also thanks to the Mildura facility. “Mildura is a combination of greenhouse and indoor, a hybrid,” Angus explains. “The climate can be fully controlled, as well as the airflow, CO2, and so on.” Considering how highly valuable the cannabis crop is, it makes sense that Cann Group invested in such a high-tech facility. The keyword is efficiency. From a greenhouse perspective, you don’t want to be producing material that costs a lot of money. That’s why you need to be utterly precise with the water and energy.”

While Mildura harnesses the sunlight, Cann Group has also installed supplemental lighting in a very particular way. “We have hybrid lighting here,” he says. This means that both LEDs and HPS lights are in the Mildura greenhouse. “HPS delivers a very nice and proven spectrum for plants, and LEDs are much more energy-efficient. Combining the two gives a very nice light intensity that our plants definitely appreciate. On top of that, Mildura is usually quite sunny, so our plants will be getting all the quality light they need to thrive passively most months.”

Export potential 
Australia is well-placed to export to emerging markets because of its strict quality standards and regulations. “Cann group has several international partners, like in Germany for instance, and indeed most of our export is for the European market.” And that doesn’t come as a surprise, considering the potential of markets like the German market. As the potential of this market grows, Cann Group is ready to step up and increase its cultivation efforts as well. “We are scaling up mindfully to meet market demand and have planned capacity expansion at Mildura,” Angus points out. “So, we have expansion capacity when required.”

Before that happens, Cann Group is poised to capitalize on the opportunity for over-the-counter CBD products in Australian pharmacies with their innovative Satipharm CBD product. “Although there aren’t any OTC products on the market yet – because they have to go through an approval process first – they will be easily distributed over-the-counter once approved. Our Satipharm CBD capsule product, which can currently be accessed in Australia through doctor prescriptions, will be available through this pathway should it become approved.”

For more information:
Cann Group
+61 (0)3 9095 7088    

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