With Canada’s looming recreational cannabis market on target for an October 17th debut, the buzz around the country’s marijuana industry is arguably louder than ever before. Whether it’s the acquisition of a Canadian cannabis company by a big-name beverage provider or a brand new weed delivery bike service, there is no shortage of news surrounding the burgeoning industry—big or small.
While many are thrilled by the potential of the relatively ‘green’ business sector, there are others that have yet to accept the once-taboo industry with open arms.
Unfortunately, those apprehensive to the idea might have further ammunition for their arguments, as a Canadian marijuana company is set to acquire the rights to a popular children’s soccer field in the Stoney Creek area—leaving kids high and dry ahead of the upcoming fall soccer season.
According to a report from CBC in Canada, the Stoney Creek, Ontario sports complex, Players Paradise has officially been sold to Green Relief, a producer of medical marijuana.
Details of the deal, however, remain murky at the time. It’s unclear whether or not Players Paradise was for sale or not. The company says it was originally approached by a real estate investment firm partnered with Green Relief, which led to the two sides eventually striking a deal.
“Players Paradise was approached by a real estate investment firm who has partnered with Green Relief, a medical cannabis company,” Cheryl Willberg, a spokesperson for Players Paradise, said. “They were looking for a facility in a specific geographic area with unique structural needs and required quick possession of the facility.”
Green Relief, however, contends that the building had been on the market for some time, and they were approached by a third party to buy.
“The building had been for sale for some time before we were approached by a third party to see if we would be interested in having a look at the structure,” Warren Bravo, CEO of Green Relief Inc, said in a statement. “After some investigation, we realized that this deal not only made a lot of sense for Green Relief, but for the Stoney Creek community as well.”
Regardless of semantics, the move did not sit well with some within the Stoney Creek community.
“It’s pretty shocking,” said Sam Disanto, the president of the Saltfleet Stoney Creek Soccer Club told CBC.
“If there was one hockey rink sold to a cannabis producer, there would be national outrage,” said Laurie Petrou, whose son plays for the Saltfleet youth team. “It just feels like a slap in the face.”
Despite some backlash within the community, Green Relief maintains the endeavor will be beneficial to the community. Green Relief says that the new venue will immediately create around 100 jobs in the Stoney Creek Area.
Additionally, the company says it will donate $10,000 to the Saltfleet soccer team for relocation expenses. It also plans to invest $9 million into the transformation of the stadium.
While, at the surface, the move might appear cold-blooded, Green Relief’s acquisition could pay dividends to the community down the road. Ontario’s estimated cannabis retail profits are currently projected at $2 billion at the outset of recreational legalization.
Canada, as a whole, is projected to see over $7 billion in profits by 2019. If some of the tax money generated by Green Relief goes back to the community, there’s no telling the impact it could have on the town. The complex will officially be closing its doors on October 31st.