Planning permission granted for first medical cannabis production facilty in Ireland

Planning permission has been granted for the creation of the first medical cannabis production facility on the island of Ireland.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council Planning Department has granted permission to Growth Industries Pharma to change an industrial unit into a facility for the production, cultivation and processing of medical cannabis plants.

The facility will be based at an undisclosed location in Co Antrim and will be the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.

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A statement on the Growth Industries Pharma website said: "Our high-security, climate-controlled facility is just outside Belfast, surrounded by open countryside, minimising any impact on neighbours but enabling fast, easy access to distribution networks.

"We aim to lead the prescription cannabis industry, researching and developing specialist cultivars to treat a variety of conditions, mainly as an alternative to harmful opioid painkillers but also for diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s and gynaecological conditions.

"Our cannabis will be available on prescription from doctors as premium quality flower. We expect to start commercial production in early 2025."

The planning approval included conditions stating that the company must establish odour controls and policies for the facility in order to reduce any potential impact on others.

Since the legalisation of medical cannabis in the UK in 2018, there has been a large uptake of use in Northern Ireland with more than 20% of all prescriptions being sold here.

Users have told Belfast Live that they decided to use the treatment after having significant side-effects from the use of prescription drugs, particularly opioid painkillers.

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