Work has begun on a medicinal cannabis farm in Dumfries and Galloway following a public development agency investment.
Hilltop Leaf Ltd, a private medicinal cannabis cultivation and extraction business, has received support from South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE).
The £690,000 capital investment will be used in the construction of a 11,000 square m facility on a rural site.
South of Scotland Enterprise said it would help to create new jobs in the region.
Medicinal cannabis can be used to treat chronic pain and epilepsy. Most cannabis-based medicines are imported from abroad rather than made in the UK.
Hilltop Leaf aims to provide cannabinoid oils, APIs and cannabis-based medicinal products to the European market.
Its new facility is expected to be built by March 2021, despite challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.
‘Support early growth’
The company hopes to eventually create more than 50 jobs in the area, including technical quality assurance roles,
agricultural labour and operational support.
CEO Hamish Clegg said the SOSE investment provided “early risk capital” and would help attract the private investment.
“We aim to provide an affordable and widely available solution to patients suffering from a range of conditions from chronic pain to severe epilepsy, easing pressure on the NHS,” he said.
“We hope to rival other countries such as Canada, Germany, and Israel where the medical cannabis industry is already well established.”
Prof Russel Griggs, SOSE chairman, said: “We are delighted to provide support to Hilltop at their early growth stage of this pioneering medicinal business.
“This is an exciting project and offers a fantastic opportunity for Hilltop to help the rural economy of Dumfries and Galloway by creating local jobs and supporting existing businesses.”