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Medcan opens verticle farming facility

Queensland’s Medtech footprint has expanded today with the official opening of the most tech-advanced medicinal cannabis facility in the Southern Hemisphere, in Brisbane.

Medcan Australia’s state-of-the-art 3,000-square-metre vertical farming facility can produce six-million grams of dried cannabis flower – twice as much as it’s currently selling.

Aside from producing an estimated $60 million worth of product from the new site, the team expects to create more than 100 new jobs in the next 12 months.

“Up until now, we have been selling more medicinal cannabis than we can produce,” said Medcan Australia CEO and co-founder Craig Cochran.

“The Heathwood facility, which has been purpose-built and uses a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, allows us to perpetually harvest our crop in an environment that is totally controlled by our cultivation team,” he said.

Medcan has invested more than $12 million in developing this fully automated vertical farming operation that encourages consistent quality growth.

With three of its six cultivation rooms now ready for operation, Mr Cochran said the company’s Head of Cultivation Nathaniel Jones was closely monitoring the crop, which consists of 16 plants per square metre, on top of 16 plants per square metre vertically across the growing and propagation areas.

“To put this into perspective, a greenhouse set-up generally produces big plants with plenty of leaves and excessive biomass.

“Where they might grow one plant per square metre, a vertical farming set-up like ours produces smaller, condensed, structured plants which don’t produce as much wastage and provide more cannabinoids per square metre as a result,” Mr Cochran added.

Between them, Mr Cochran and his business partner Gareth Ball have spent the past seven years perfecting Medcan’s processes. In doing so they’ve crafted an ‘environmental recipe’ that is consistent and able to support its continually expanding patient / doctor network.

“In terms of indoor cultivation, by Australian standards our facility is one of the biggest. The HVAC system we use is similar in size to what an international airport terminal uses.”

Medcan uses a software solution called PRIVA to assist in creating an automated climate for high-quality growth.

“It’s a massive software system that uses algorithmic logic to calculate the environment and acquires feedback from hundreds of probes and different measuring equipment across the plant,” he added.

And it doesn’t end there, lighting and irrigation technology too is crucial to Medcan’s scaling up.

According to Mr Cochran, cannabis needs a very high light intensity and LED lights put out a greater light intensity than HPS lighting at about 60 per cent of the energy output.

“LEDs also offer a more natural spectrum of light which is more closely simulates the sun,” he added.

Further to this, if the plants dry out, it’s game-over, which is why Medcan has an automated irrigation system that makes nurturing the cannabis crops so much easier.

“The irrigation system takes in city water, which is run through a reverse osmosis system, sanitised with UV filtration and then has its pH balanced automatically.

“Then it takes our customised fertiliser blend and mixes it according to the required recipe. This process is fully automated.”

Medcan Australia’s Heathwood site was officially opened this morning by Federal Member for Oxley, Milton Dick MP. The State Member for Jordan, Charis Mullen MP, and Calamvale Ward Councillor, Angela Owen, were also in attendance.

For more information on Medcan Australia, visit

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