A medicinal cannabis company has been awarded a £690,000 grant to build a facility in Dumfries and Galloway, that could create 50 jobs in the area.
Hilltop Leaf Limited - a private medicinal cannabis cultivation and extraction company - received the support from the South of Scotland Enterprise.
The organisation says the 11,000 sqm farm, which is to be built in a rural location by the end of March 2021, will boost the area's economy.
Medicinal cannabis can be used to treat conditions like epilepsy and chronic pain. A change in the law in 2018 made it legal for doctors to prescribe the treatment.
Neil Ewart, Director, Chairman, and co-founder of Hilltop said: "We have been incredibly lucky to have this support in addition to the tireless work from our diverse team that has come together to create this exciting business.
"We have plans to expand the Hilltop team with further external funding to provide over 50 jobs in the local area ranging from Technical Quality Assurance roles to agricultural labour and wider operational support."
Hamish Clegg, Director, CEO and co-founder of Hilltop commented: "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.
"We hope to rival other countries such as Canada, Germany, and Israel where the medical cannabis industry is already well established."
The Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise, Professor Russel Griggs, says the investment is an exciting project. He said it "offers a fantastic opportunity for Hilltop to help the rural economy of Dumfries & Galloway by creating local jobs and supporting existing businesses.
"How we treat people matters to us, and we want to ensure this runs through our region. As a Living Wage and Fair Work employer, Hilltop reflects these values.
"SOSE is here to establish the South of Scotland as a centre of opportunity, innovation and growth and we are delighted to support Hilltop Leaf on their journey ahead."