Cannabis cultivator Canopy Growth has broken ground on a project to build Newfoundland’s first legal grow facility. In December, the company struck a deal with the provincial government to produce and distribute cannabis in Newfoundland.
Canopy Growth vice-president Jeff Ryan joined Innovation Minister Christopher Mitchelmore at the site of the new endeavor in St. John’s. At the groundbreaking ceremony Monday, Ryan told local media that the project would be good for his company and the area’s future.
“It’s a really great day for Canopy and for St. John’s,” he said.
Mitchelmore then echoed that sentiment, noting that the company will be an economic stimulus for the region.
“It’s great to have a flagship like Canopy here in the province,” he said.
Canopy Growth expects to actually begin construction on the new 150,000 square foot facility next month. When it is completed, the company expects the site will produce 12,000 kilos of marijuana each year. About 8,000 kilos of that amount will stay in Newfoundland to serve the local market. The company is spending 55 million Canadian dollars on the project.
Cultivation Facility Will Create Jobs
At the event, Ryan said that the cultivation facility will employ about 145 people. He also noted that the company plans to build four retail shops in Newfoundland, as well. Those locations will have 60 more jobs to fill once cannabis is completely legalized in Canada and retail sales can begin. Canopy has also applied for licenses to operate two more retail locations in the St. John’s area.
“As soon as it’s legal, we will have those retail stores open,” Ryan said.
The stores will sell cannabis flower, concentrates, pre-rolled joints, and other marijuana products. Ryan said the company has not yet set its prices for the locations.
“Stay tuned for a price list when the time is right,” he said.
The VP also noted that Canopy planned to serve the province’s cannabis market responsibly.
“Our goal here is to really be part of the community, to create jobs and at the same time sell cannabis in a very responsible way,” he said.
Ryan said the province’s unique character could become a valuable marketing feature for the company down the road.
“That’s the great thing about Newfoundland,” he said. “I think that in the future we will be able to sort of mine the cultural aspects of the province and perhaps develop some brands that will be inextricably linked to Newfoundland.”
When asked if the government’s deal with Canopy Growth would lead to a monopoly for the company, Minister Mitchelmore said that would not be the case. He also welcomed other cannabis firms to the province.
“Everyone has equal opportunity … if they want to establish a production facility in Newfoundland and Labrador,” he said. “We’re certainly open for business.”
Legalization Expected in Canada Later This Year
The Canadian federal government is currently in the process of legalizing cannabis for recreational use by adults. Last year, the House of Commons passed Bill C-45, which would legalize possession of cannabis and regulate its production, sale, and distribution.
The Senate then passed the measure in March of this year. Provincial and local governments are currently developing their regulatory infrastructure for the enactment of Bill C-45, which is expected later this year.