One of Canada’s largest medical marijuana producers will soon set up shop in Fredericton and they say the eagerness of the New Brunswick government means they’ll likely expand to other parts of the province as well.
Canopy Growth Corporation, based in Smiths Falls, Ont. is a diversified cannabis company that boasts more than 500,000 square feet of production space.
Soon they’ll add another 40,000 square feet to the tally when they move into a facility in Fredericton’s Vanier Industrial Park with plans to increase the number even further.
“We feel comfortable that we can expand the site up to about 95 or 100,000 square feet,” said Canopy Growth Corp. CEO Bruce Linton.
Renovating the facility to fit their operation, as well as the coming revamp are just two examples of economic spinoffs for the region.
Temporary construction jobs will be created to service the needs, with another estimated 70 workers hired to operate the facility.
“The economic growth that’ll come with it … is going to project a lot of money into the economy,” explained Kevin Darrah, Fredericton City Councillor. “The growth from that, the benefits that people are going to start spending their money in grocery stores, restaurants things like that … it’s all going to help with our local economy in Fredericton.”
Darrah says council is on board for Fredericton to have its first licenced producer in the city and doesn’t expect it to cause any negative effects.
“These type of places are all over the country already and they don’t seem to have any problems whatsoever,” he said.
“We’ve got a lot of people with PTSD, Ambulance New Brunswick who I work for, recently lost a medic as well as there are a lot of palliative patients in the province who use cannabis as a cancer relief drug,” he explained. “It’s going to be good to have a product close to home that will help benefit citizens of the province.”
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The municipality’s message is in line with that of the provincial government.
Premier Brian Gallant hasn’t been quiet about the fact that he views the cannabis industry as an economic driver and a massive opportunity for New Brunswick.
Linton says the open-for-business attitude is why they began looking at the province when they wanted to expand to the east coast.
“What it’s about is economic development,” he said.
“Producing cannabis is an activity that generates quite a lot of potential wealth and requires quite a few people to work at,” Linton explained. “New Brunswick has been the earliest for probably a year and a half lead on all the provinces in Canada to recognize that they should be supportive and responsive.”
Linton also indicated they aren’t finished just yet when it comes to expanding their operations and could find themselves setting up in other parts of the province in the near future as well.
“I have a team of five people who do nothing but look at every potential property and activity that could expand our offering,” he said.