Bendigo council advertises application for medicinal cannabis farm in Heathcote

PLAN: JLSL Risk Mitigation has applied to council to use land in Heathcote to grow medicinal cannabis. Picture: DARREN HOWE
PLAN: JLSL Risk Mitigation has applied to council to use land in Heathcote to grow medicinal cannabis. Picture: DARREN HOWE

Heathcote, in the heart of central Victoria, could be home to a medicinal cannabis operation.

Applicants JLSL Risk Mitigation is seeking to construct a single large dwelling and shed at 414 Hylands Lane, Heathcote, to grow medicinal cannabis and for hemp farming.

JLSL is a boutique security company, capable of delivering security service solutions ranging from low level residential security requirements, to high level risk mitigation services, domestically and internationally.

The company's chief financial officer, consultant and co-applicant Jeffrey Leahy said JLSL has state and federal licences for the distribution of medicinal cannabis.

"Nobody in Australia would beat my application in terms of the level of detail and thought applied to security of the premises," Mr Leahy said.

"All of our employees are licensed security guards, work as armed guards and many are ex-law enforcement and military personnel."

Mr Leahy and his brother, Steven Leahy, own the vacant 6.4-hectare site.

The application said conducting cannabis farming meets the principle objective of utilising the land for productive agricultural use.

The construction of the single dwelling and shed, with combined floor area of 1165 square metres, is proposed to be worth $400,000

It has been deemed a mandatory requirement of the operation, to provide security and protection to the crop.

"This construction requirement is mandatory to provide security and protection to the valuable crop which is being grown on the land," it said.

The facility will be monitored 24/7. The nature of the crop necessitates 24/7 care, control, maintenance and security and the erection of the dwelling and shed does not prejudice the agricultural use of the land in any way," the application said.

Peak industry organisation for Australia's licenced medicinal cannabis industry, Medicinal Cannabis Industry Australia, said there are significant opportunities in the local and global market for Australian growers.

Mr Leahy echoed these sentiments and outlined the difficulty in gaining momentum and credibility in the fledgling Australian industry.

"There are about 1.7 million people diagnosed with cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and other severe medical conditions, where the supply of medicinal cannabis may benefit," Mr Leahy said.

"That requires a huge level of production and one of the biggest problems we have in Australia is the distribution channel.

"Money is going offshore because of the high retail and wholesale price and consumers shouldn't be forced to support international businesses and pay for it as well."

Mr Leahy said JLSL is not in the market to compete with Big Pharma.

"We specialise in growing organic, whole of plant extract," Mr Leahy said. "The clients we have, a lot of them are cancer patients, who don't want a pharmaceutically-based product, but rather an organic one.

"The problem is that it's really tough for customers to get that product."

Patient access to cannabis products is federally regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and associated act.

Medical practitioners can apply to the TGA to prescribe cannabis related products that are not registered on the TGA to patients.

Most medicinal cannabis products are unapproved therapeutic goods, according to the TGA's website.

This story Medicinal cannabis operation floated for central Victoria first appeared on Bendigo Advertiser.