A Penticton winery owner who founded a medical marijuana company says he plans to open the largest medical cannabis production facility in B.C. near Oliver on Osoyoos Indian Band land.
Poplar Grove Winery owner Tony Holler founded Sunniva Inc. four years ago as he saw a business opportunity in the burgeoning cannabis industry.
“It’s a high growth industry, it’s an exciting industry, and it’s an industry of the future,” Holler said on Tuesday.
Holler said the 700,000-square-foot purpose-built greenhouse facilities will use state-of-the-art Dutch technologies.
The total Sunniva Canada Campus is expected to produce 125,000 kg of premium medical cannabis a year and over 35,000 kg of trim used for extraction.
If all goes as planned, it will be located on a 39-acre parcel of land in the industrial park north of Oliver.
“That industrial park has all of the infrastructure there,” Holler said.
The $100-million facility will be constructed in two phases and would create up to 200 jobs.
Holler says odour mitigation will prevent the smell of cannabis from spreading beyond the facility and it will include high-level security.
“It involves cameras, physical security, security guards, all of those sorts of things,” he said.
Sunniva Medical Inc., a subsidiary of Sunniva Inc., has a current application for a medical cannabis production licence for the facility to become a licensed producer under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations in Canada.
The company says its received correspondence from Health Canada indicating that its application is in final review.
“Building the facility is part of that approval process so we always describe ourselves as late stage applicants. What does that mean? We are getting ready to build,” Holler said.
The company is also finalizing the lease agreement.
No one from the Osoyoos Indian Band was available to comment on Tuesday.
Holler says the timing is right as federal legislation to regulate marijuana are slated to be introduced July 1.
“We imagine what will happen is that medical patients will go directly to a doctor, get a recommendation for cannabis, that recommendation goes to a licensed producer like Sunniva,” he said.
Holler said construction could begin as early as March with production ramping up early next year.
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