The LED lights of an Australian medical marijuana farm turn pink in the night sky

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A mysterious pink glow lit up the skies over the Australian town of Mildura on Wednesday evening, leaving residents to wonder if they were witnessing an alien invasion, stray aurora borealis or some kind of solar flare .

Local resident Tammy Szumowski and her family thought the world was coming to an end. “I was just like ‘what the hell is this? It’s very weird, this huge pink light in the sky,” she said. “I’m trying not to freak out because I have my girls in the car.”

Others were looking for an explanation.

“I was driving home and it was dark, and I noticed a very unusual and quite large pink glow,” said Anne Webster, a lawmaker who represents the region in the Australian Parliament. “I thought that was very strange. My first thought was that there must be a logical reason for this.

In fact, the glow emanated from a medical cannabis facility on the outskirts of Mildura which inadvertently revealed its previously undisclosed location while testing LED lights, which reflected off the cloudy night sky to create an eerie, otherworldly scene. that scared and thrilled the city of 56,000.

As the facility’s security guard investigated the source of the bright pink light, he realized it was attracting attention around Mildura, about 340 miles northwest of Melbourne.

“He went out in the evening and noticed a glow and he noticed a few vehicles stopping to see where it was coming from,” said Peter Crock, managing director of Cann Group, the cannabis research and production company. behind the facility. broadcasting company

The company normally uses blackout curtains to hide the red spectrum LED lights used to promote plant growth. But on Wednesday the curtains were left open for some time, sending a bat signal visible for miles around the facility, located in the southeastern state of Victoria.

In 2016, Australia legalized the cultivation, research and manufacture of medical marijuana. Today, some 70,000 Australians turn to medical marijuana for relief, generating an estimated revenue of $160 million in 2021, according to Fresh Leaf Analytics, a cannabis market research firm. Australians use medical marijuana primarily for pain, anxiety and sleep problems, according to a 2022 study published in the journal Frontiers of Pharmacology.

Prescriptions have increased over the past two years, which the study attributed in part to the “mental health burden” of Australia’s coronavirus lockdown restrictions. The country imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in the world before vaccinating 95% of its adult population.

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Cann Group was the first company licensed by Australia to conduct cannabis research. He received a $1.4 million grant from the Victorian state government, part of which was used to develop a commercial medical cannabis facility at an undisclosed location until enlightenment incident this week. The Mildura plant, which was built on the site of a former juice factory, harvested its first batch earlier this month.

Mildura is known as a major producer of grapes, supplying wineries in the region. But his adventure in cannabis production is new.

“It provides jobs, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg because it has quite a future for growth,” said Webster, the lawmaker, who toured Cann’s facilities.

“We’ve resumed normal transmission, but it’s definitely got everyone’s attention in the meantime,” Crock, Cann’s chief executive, said of Wednesday’s incident. “All publicity is good publicity.”

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