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Byron Shire
February 25, 2021

Byron’s first legal cannabis crop on the cards

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A birds-eye view of Byron Shire’s first proposed cannabis farm. Image Elixinol

While there has been a lot of talk about medicinal cannabis of late, there has so far been little action on the ground in the part of the country where it grows like a weed.

That’s about to change if a development application (DA) currently on exhibition in Byron Shire is approved.

The $7.25million, 16-person, four-greenhouse operation will turn out two-to-five tonnes of medicinal cannabis a year, according to the DA.

But if you think ‘with that amount of green stuff being produced, the owners wouldn’t notice a few missing buds’, think again.

The proposed site at 955 Friday Hut Road, Binna Burra, is almost entirely surrounded by Byron Creek, the facility itself will be purpose-built and highly secure, and 24/7 security staff will be onsite.

The proponent, Elixinol Global Limited, is an ASX listed company that already has a foot in the door of the international medicinal cannabis industry, including in the US and Europe.

The growing of cannabis and associated processing is a permissible use, according to Bryon’s LEP.

The proposed secure Elixinol medical marijuana facility. No you won’t be able to nick a few buds. Image Elixinol

Specially designed facility

If approved, cannabis cultivation in a specially designed facility would replace the three existing chicken sheds on the site.

The proposed facility would be approximately 3,440 square metres, of which around half would be used for actual growing, with the rest devoted to drying, processing, a nursery, storage and administration. It would cover less than 10 per cent of the site and would use town water for cropping, owing to the highly controlled nature of the cultivation.

The height and scale of the buildings is roughly equivalent to that of the existing chicken sheds, which it would replace, meaning it would not impact the views of surrounding properties.

‘The proposed development creates no dust, no noise, no external spray drift, and all harvesting and processing will take place from within the building,’ the application states.

‘The existing poultry sheds with up to 200,000 birds can produce unpleasant odours. The proposed use will have no odour at all,’ it continues.

There will be parking for 22 cars, with an anticipated 44 car movements per day and two heavy vehicle movements per month.

Neighbours approve

Affected neighbour Wayne Penn told Echonetdaily he had written a submission ‘heartily endorsing’ the proposal, which he said would be ‘both an environmental and ethical improvement on the existing, ageing mass chicken cultivation facility’.

‘Currently we get a distinct, unpleasant odour around two weeks out of every eight-week chicken cycle and there are periods of ongoing noise during the removal of live chickens and cleaning of the sheds at the end of every cycle.

‘The location is ideally sited for a medical cannabis growing facility as it is almost encircled by Byron Creek, creating a natural security barrier,’ he said.

A spokesperson for Byron Shire Council said it had received 14 submissions relating to the proposal but could not advise how many were in support and how many opposed.

The exhibition period closes today (Wednesday February 20).

The author is an affected neighbour.


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11 COMMENTS

  1. This is a great thing for their neighbourhood, the Shire and the Region, that will bring generational benefits to the whole northern rivers area. personally, i would much rather see a value compounding medical Cannabis facility, than a chicken farm, bringing employment and a very rosy future to the region, for generations to come.

  2. Congratulations to Paul Benhaim and his team at Elixinol and let’s hope this proposed site goes ahead!
    A local to the Byron district who is doing some incredible things globally in the Cannabis space now that the rest of the world are finally waking up to it’s health benefits and assisting people who are terminally ill….

  3. I have a few questions!
    Is it an organic crop or is it GMO?
    How much water will it use?
    Will the local growers of organic marihuana still be persecuted?
    Is this legal because its grown by a multinational company and not by independent growers?
    How will it be taxed?
    Who will receive the medical marihuana and how can locals access it?

    • Pippy and Gail and Sandy, you are mixing up your industries there between medical cannabis and industrial hemp. anyone can grow hemp, if they get the proper licensing and comply with the regulations. hemp is a legal term for cannabis having less than 0.2% THC in this country, btw. Cannabis is not yet legal for individuals to grow, but it may be in Canberra by the years end! it is political activism and pressure on politicians that will make the changes you are indicating you would like to see! we are not there yet in this country, especially socially! There are NO big Pharma players at all in the global legal medical cannabis space as yet! GW Pharma is the closest to that and it is at present considered to be a target for takeover by big pharma, not big pharma, itself. Elixinol is trying hard to bring legal product to market that have known and tested contents and benefits. The home grown and cottage type environment you speak of has a place, but you will have to fight hard to ensure that happens. It is not a one type or other type of choice either! There is room for both home grown, self-medicating way and for a more regulated medical and health space. wasting energy in a turf war is self-defeating! Do not attempt to portray the incredibly passionate people who are getting things done in the legal space as some sort of big pharma- thats ignorance and very naive and wrong! no time or energy to waste critiquing and criticizing start-ups like Elixinol. The fight is with lawmakers and regulators and an uninformed public, who have a very tightly regulated model in mind, not the visionaries and risk takers!

  4. Sounds to be a great enterprise.
    I would like to know more about other possible applications and markets for Cannabis eg. bricks, rope, building materials &clothing etc. Thanks Echonetdaily

  5. I have same question’s as Pippy and Gail’s comments (above comments)
    Will locals benefit in any way? Will independent growers be prosecuted because their not a major company? Also
    Why not both chicken farm and cannabis crops? , makes sense !

  6. Great, so now a multi national company can grow pot and make a big profit when a whole generation, my generation, went to jail for the same thing.More regulation, control and taxation. How bout letting us take control of our own lives and let us grow what we need; veges, pot, herbs, poppies. All organic and better than what we buy in the shops or the chemicals that kids take that kill them at festivals.

    • Well said Bruce..alcohol has such dire negative consequences and yet that is so celebrated in our highly con… troll….ed society. Poppies sound good for chronic physical pain….I am all for people making their own choices including Euthanasia. Line drawn at ICE….makes marijuana look mild in comparison.

    • Well said Bruce..alcohol has such dire negative consequences and yet that is so celebrated in our highly con… troll….ed society. Poppies sound good for chronic physical pain….I am all for people making their own choices including Euthanasia. Line drawn at ICE….makes marijuana look mild in comparison.

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