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Pot on the Prairie: Legal grow-op in Yorkton, Sask. has high hopes for future
Published Thursday, November 2, 2017 3:28PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, November 2, 2017 3:45PM CST
In less than a year, Yorkton, Sask. could be home to one of Canada's biggest cash crops.
Canopy Growth Corporation purchased an old dairy producers building located on York Road in early spring 2017. This location is now known as "Tweed Grasslands," and is licenced by Health Canada to grow marijuana for medical purposes.
“It is a perfect location for a cannabis facility, both by virtue of the way that it was constructed and the power service ability and various utilities to the building,” says Andrew MacCorquodale, Head of Operations, Western Canada, Canopy Growth Corporation.
The first batch of product from the facility has been cut and dried. The company is now waiting for Health Canada to inspect the harvest and approve it can be used for sale. If approved, the facility is destined to become a large producer of indoor grown cannabis.
“We're rapidly expanding, hoping to get to about 90,000 square feet of production within this facility,” MacCorquodale tells CTV News.
The company hopes to have the facility upgraded and ready for July 1, 2018, when recreational marijuana is set to become legal in Canada.
“It's going to mean a lot of dollars in the local economy so that kind of expansion is something we haven't seen in many businesses recently,” Bob Maloney, Mayor of Yorkton says. “Certainly do I have concerns? Yes, I do. I mean when you look at legalization, if you ask me to vote for it, I'd vote no. But you know you have to put on your business suit.”
Tweed Grasslands has been working with the City of Yorkton and the local RCMP since the idea began in 2013, following changes to medical marijuana legislation.
“We felt very welcome in Yorkton. We haven't had any issues what so ever, and we now employ quite a few people from Yorkton or the surrounding area,” MacCorquodale says.
Hiring local has always been a desire for the company, and that’s a big plus for the mayor.
“If it's a business entity, that means they pay taxes, they create jobs. From that point of view, I really don't view it as anything different than any other business,” Maloney says.
Even bigger names are starting to invest in Canada's future marijuana market. Constellation Brands, the company that owns alcohol labels like Corona beer and Kim Crawford wines, recently purchases a 10% stake in Canopy Growth Corporation for $245-million. The partnership could lead to new products, like cannabis infused drinks and elixirs. This kind of market potential could lead to more growth in Saskatchewan.
Currently, only about 20 per cent of the facility is being used for production. Once expansion is complete, they plan to have about 80 employees in Yorkton.