“I think our plants will be pretty safe within these walls,” Christoph Rossner told Vice News, standing in a former NATO bunker. The entrepreneur is collaborating with the Bavarian government to build Germany’s largest legal weed grow since they legalized medical marijuana in March 2017. Europe’s Largest Legal Cannabis Farm Is Being Built In A Former Nuclear Bunker.
The compound is part of the former Memmingen military base, now abandoned, from where NATO planned to launch nuclear weapons if Russia ever escalated the cold war. It operated from 1952 to 2003, but now Rossner wants to take over and tap into the lucrative medical marijuana market.
Part of the logic of using the bunker is due to extensive security measurements put in place by the government in an attempt to prevent product leaving cannabis labs illegally. Not only will workers have to go through huge metal doors to get in and out of the compound, they will be required to leave their bags and clothes behind when entering the facility, change into overalls, and have fingerprints scanned. It sounds like something out of a futuristic spy film, but such measures will lead to unprecedented levels of security.
Europe’s Largest Legal Cannabis Farm will be part of a study that aims to investigate the effects of different strains of medicinal cannabis and develop quality standards for each strain. The research will be in partnership with the Technical University of Munich and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and Rossner is hoping to provide 150 patients with cannabis that has been grown in the bunker. Pending approval by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Services and Federal Narcotics Board in Germany, they could start supplying clients with MMJ as early as March 2018.
Rossner was already a firm believer in the medicinal benefits of cannabis: after crushing his shoulder in a work accident as a teen, he turned to cannabis for the resulting chronic pain. When it became legal to possess between five and ten grams, depending on the region, of cannabis in Germany in 1994, Rossner began a “weed pharmacy” to help others who used it for pain. He served patients with cancer and arthritis, but eventually, the police came as well, leading to his being sentenced to two years and one month in jail in 2000. He served five months, with a following four months in therapy. Rossner has since been able to procure medical cannabis legally for his pain and seems to be going back to his mission to help others with chronic pain access the healing plant. This time, that will be legal, too.