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Craft cannabis on a large scale: “A level of attention and care you don’t usually see”

“We have a unique cultivation methodology. It allows us to provide a level of attention and care to the plant that you don’t usually see in the industry. We’re taking an artisanal small-scale growing approach to a large-scale format,” said Rod Zakostelsky, Managing Director, and Kenneth Langford, Director of Cultivation of Cannaponics. The Australian medical cannabis company recently organized a crowdfunding campaign to complete the building of its processing facility. “We reached our goal of raising $5 million.”

Cannaponics grows in a 4,000-square-meter greenhouse and has the ability to grow outdoors. “We have 165 acres of land, so we have lots of space to utilize for cultivation. Growing outdoors enables us to produce sun-grown and organic products, which are desirable in niche markets,” Kenneth explains. “The greenhouse protects the crops from damage and allows us to control the environmental elements. This is important for medical patients who are expecting consistency in their medicine.” Sustainability is also an important factor for the company. Rainwater is harvested, and the whole site is run on solar power and batteries, with the goal of building a one-megawatt solar farm.

When it comes to production, Cannaponics is driving the growth of the plant rather than responding to what the plants are doing. “We control everything in the process and have the plants work to our schedule. This allows us to improve our consistency and quality and enables us to deliver over and over on a pre-set schedule,” Kenneth says. Doing such a precise, high-quality production on a large scale might sound very challenging. Luckily, they have decades of cultivation experience on the team. Kenneth moved to Australia from Canada and has been growing medicinal cannabis for the last 22 years. “With such experience, you learn what the challenges are, and you come up with solutions for them.”

Funding campaign
Cannaponics’ recent virtual crowdfunding campaign reached its minimum target quickly: $3 million were raised in just 24 hours. At the end of the campaign, they reached their goal of $5 million. The money will be used to build their solar farm and to complete their biotech production facility, Rod explains. “We aim to move into advanced manufacturing of medical flowers into isolate and distillates. The money will enable us to also improve our facility with equipment.” Prior to this, Cannaponics received a $2 million grant from the state government for new, sustainable industries and has raised a further $10 million privately.

Rod believes there are several reasons why investments in their company have been so successful. “Timing, experience, and our situation probably have a lot to do with it. We have a very large piece of land in a great climate and an economic situation where locals are looking for jobs. Because of the space we have, we have the ability to use solar farming to keep our cost of goods down and be more sustainable. All of these factors combined provide a good package within the industry.”

Moreover, a domestic supply of cannabis would greatly benefit the country, according to Rod. “From the start, Australia has been importing the majority of its medicinal cannabis. Domestic production is not yet where it needs to be. When the pandemic happened, people realized how fragile international supply chains can be. For many, it was an eye-opener that Australia needs to look after Australia first.”

Therefore, Cannaponics is getting ready to serve Australian patients. “The three pillars that hold our company are people, planet, and profits. We make people’s lives better in different ways. We are making medicine, bringing cannabis to the forefront in the country, creating jobs, and looking after the planet by using 100% renewables to run our site.”

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