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U.K. firm sets sights on building what it claims is world’s first carbon-negative medical cannabis facility

Dec 20, 2021 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
View the original article here.

Glass Pharms to receive as much as $38.5 million in funding to advance its plan.

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Glass Pharms has received the funding needed to build what it calls the first medical cannabis facility to be carbon-negative.


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In a deal with an unnamed infrastructure investment fund, Glass Pharms notes it will get up to £22.5 million ($38.5 million) “in financing to build the first dedicated medical cannabis cultivation facility that will be carbon negative by design.”

An area in the South of England will serve as the home for the planned 2.5-hectare greenhouse facility, notes a company statement.

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Glass Pharms, which snagged the first U.K. commercial licence to supply high-THC cannabis flower to lawful third parties, like pharmaceutical companies, explains that the facility will be powered by an anaerobic digestion plant.


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That means the “plant turns food waste into electricity, with waste hot water from the plant being used for both heating and cooling in the greenhouse.”

The advanced facility allowing for pharma-grade cultivation would also allow for the cultivated cannabis flower to meet the “fine tolerances required by the pharmaceutical sector for medical cannabis flower,” which the company maintains is “difficult in traditional greenhouses” outdoors.

This goal will be aided by employing things like artificial intelligence-based environmental management systems to control a range of growing variables.

Notes the company website: “It also means that we don’t have to rely on carbon credits to claim we are carbon negative… our business model is intrinsically built that way using the best practices of circular economic design.”


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“The result will be a replicable end-product,” James Duckenfield, CEO of Glass Pharms, says in the statement, adding that the plant to able to supply customers sometime next year.

As it stands, Glass Pharms notes “almost all medical cannabis that is supplied to patients in the U.K. is imported, with inconsistency of quality and supply.”

Though medical cannabis is permitted in the U.K., loud and sometimes desperate appeals have regularly been voiced regarding the need for related drugs to be more accessible and affordable.

“We will underpin a secure supply chain of medical cannabis to U.K., whilst at the same time making a real contribution towards the U.K.’s Net Zero targets,” Duckenfield says in the statement.


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This past spring, as part of its sixth Carbon Budget, the U.K. government enshrined a new target in law to slash emissions by 78 per cent by 2035. Meeting the target would mean the U.K. would be more than three-quarters of the way to net zero by 2050.

The Cannabis Research Centre at the University of South California Berkeley reported late last year that “cannabis uses a similar amount of water per acre as other agricultural crops in California, but it accounts for a tiny fraction of the state’s agricultural water use because crop area is so low.”

Investigators noted that “typically, cultivation in greenhouses uses less water per plant than cannabis grown outdoors, but because plants are smaller and densely arranged, greenhouse cultivation can use more water per square foot.”

According to Giadha A. DeCarcer, founder and CEO of New Frontier Data: “Water has always been a vital variable to cannabis cultivation, especially in drought-prone states such as California.”

DecCarcer added that “ongoing environmental concerns, and now rapidly increasing pressure to price competitively, are making water efficiency critical for lower operational costs and industry sustainability in the U.S. and abroad.”


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