August 23, 2016 10:51 am
Updated: August 23, 2016 4:37 pm

N.B. government invests $4M in medical marijuana production facility

WATCH ABOVE: Restigouche county and northern New Brunswick have been struggling economically for years. With the decline in fisheries and a slowdown in pulp and paper, the area is in desperate need of a new industry. As Global’s Paul Cormier reports the area got a big boost from both the provincial government and private industry.

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The government of New Brunswick is giving a proposed medical marijuana facility in the province a major financial boost — investing a total of $4 million into the operation.

The money comes from the Northern New Brunswick Economic Development Fund, through both Opportunities NB and the Regional Development Corporation who each invested $2 million.

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READ MORE: Licensed growers must increase ahead of legalization: NB marijuana producer

The province says the medical marijuana project could create more than 200 full-time jobs in the northern New Brunswick town of Atholville by 2021.

“We understand how important job creation, education and health care are to New Brunswickers,” Premier Brian Gallant said in a release.

“With this investment we are getting things done to grow the economy and create jobs for people right here at home.”

The government says Zenabis, the medical marijuana company, is expected to inject about $15 million to the GDP each year.

“In our first phase, the total investment will be close to $14 million, which will generate about 300 construction jobs. We look forward to the next phases, where we will continue to expand our workforce and create hundreds of more jobs,” Kevin Coft, CEO of International Herbs Medical Marijuana Ltd. said in the release.

That first phase is the growing and production phase, of which International Herbs Medical Marijuana is in the pre-license inspection phase.

If complete, the company will move on to construction of their facility, which would then be inspected by Health Canada.

If that passes, Zenabis will get a production-only license. The license to sell to the public would come after the crop met proper standards.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia medical marijuana dispensary expands to New Brunswick

Zenabis and the government predict that if the federal government legalizes marijuana, the number of jobs this production facility could create would go up significantly.

The facility will be located in the former Atlantic Yarns building, which was bought in 2014 and will undergo renovations.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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