Proposed cannabis farm ‘gamechanger’ for Casino

Richmond Valley Council has welcomed a proposal put forward by Canadian company PUF Ventures Inc via its majority-owned subsidiary PUF Ventures Australia, to construct a one million-square-foot (9.3ha) greenhouse operation for the cultivation, production and manufacture of medical cannabis and associated products in Casino. Touted as the “largest medical cannabis facility in the southern hemisphere”, at full scale it will have the capacity to support annual production of 100,000 kilograms of high-quality cannabis, which equates to an associated annual revenue generation potential of between $800 million and $1.1 billion, based on current pricing metrics in the Australian cannabis marketplace.

When the farm and production centre is up and running, the cannabis oil will not only benefit Australians with a medical condition but could also benefit from future export opportunities.

Council’s General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said Council was excited by the prospect of working with an international company like PUF Ventures Australia to support the development of this important new industry.

Mr Macdonald said the proposed cannabis project would significantly add to the Richmond Valley’s gross regional product, and was expected to create around 300 direct new jobs into the local economy.

He said the proposed project would go a long way to meeting Council’s commitment to reduce unemployment through economic development, and improve the prosperity of our community.

He said if approved, the project would be a gamechanger for Casino, the Richmond Valley and the wider region.

“We look forward to working closely with PUF Ventures Australia to bring this project to reality, and working to create a new agricultural industry of medicinal cannabis in our region and across Australia,” Mr Macdonald said.

Richmond Valley Mayor Robert Mustow said Council was always looking for employment opportunities, and would be supporting PUF Ventures Australia’s applications.

Cr Mustow said while the project was still subject to Federal Government approvals, in particular from the Office of Drug Control, Council would be doing all it could to make sure it got across the line.

He said the proposal was discussed last week at a closed Council meeting, and all councillors were supportive of PUF Ventures Australia’s strategy and vision.

“This is an amazing opportunity for Casino and the Richmond Valley, which already has the natural advantage in agriculture,” Cr Mustow said.

PUF Ventures Australia CEO Michael Horsfall said he too was excited with his company’s plan to build a state-of-the-art, cannabis greenhouse operation in Casino.

Mr Horsfall said PUF Ventures Australia was fully supportive of the Australian Government’s policy and commitment on stimulating strong economic growth in regional Australia.

“While the cannabis market is in its infancy in Australia, we are confident the Richmond Valley project will make a significant difference to a local economy,” he said.

“Our core strategies align with that of government and this will enable us to access a range of local support and initiatives from both Federal and State governments now and into the future.” 

If approved, the cannabis farm will be established on a Council-owned 27-hectare parcel of land in North Casino. As an incentive to attract PUF Ventures to Casino, Council will provide the land for five years at no cost, with an option for the company to purchase.