ON Friday, December 6, history will be made in Wonthaggi, with the grand opening of Medipharm Labs Australia.
Medipharm CEO Warren Everitt said the company would be the “first independent cannabis manufacturing company” in the nation.
Speaking ahead of the event, Mr Everitt said the Wonthaggi factory was a “pretty cool facility”.
“I’m pretty elated,” he admitted.
It’s been a long journey, and one he never imagined taking. The former plumbing company owner, sheet metal worker and IT and marketing specialist decided to “jump into this cannabis pharmaceutical space” as the next step in a varied career. He hasn’t looked back.
“At stages I probably bit off a little more than I can chew. Putting a facility smack bang in the middle of Wonthaggi was no mean feat. It’s an industry where there’s an associated stigma,” Mr Everitt said.
“Nothing worthwhile in life is easy. I stayed the course and now we’re at a point where we have something of a first mover advantage.
“A lot of companies are getting set up in the industry, whereas we’ve got a facility that is about to be fully functional. That first mover advantage is really critical in a start-up industry.”
Mr Everitt said the growing of cannabis was not part of Medipharm’s operations. Like a brewer purchasing hops, the lab buys in the marijuana and turns it into oil. The oil is prescribed by doctors for people with chronic pain; it’s not for getting high.
“A lot of growers growing fresh produce, for example, were looking to get into the cannabis industry, but they didn’t have a market,” he said.
Medipharm has become that market. He said some of the growers were ASX listed companies, who needed somewhere to send their product.
“We’ve not only supported a lot of the growers, we’re also helping a lot of the industry players,” Mr Everitt said.
“Probably if you’re considering getting in now, you may be too late.”
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