October 22, 2018 5:22 pm
Updated: October 22, 2018 5:59 pm

New cannabis cultivation facility a path for N.S. First Nations to tap into marijuana market

Mon, Oct 22: As cannabis stores across the country experience product shortages a new cultivation facility was opened in Lower Sackville, N.S., on Monday. The new state-of-the-art facility is built solely to produce high-quality cannabis. But as Silas Brown reports, it could also be a way for Nova Scotia’s First Nations to tap into the lucrative marijuana market.

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A new cannabis cultivation facility in Sackville, N.S., opened on Monday, and it may give the province’s First Nations an opportunity to enter the lucrative and newly legalized marijuana market.

AtlantiCann Medical Inc. and GrowForce say their state-of-the-art facility is on the cusp of receiving a cultivation licence and will have to send samples of two grow cycles before Health Canada grants the company a sales licence.

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“It’s a long and arduous process. Patience is a virtue when dealing with Health Canada,” said Christine Halef, a president of AtlantiCann.

“Understandably, there have been a lot of regulation changes and progressions and modifications over the last few years.”

READ MORE: Producers blame federal guidelines as customers raise concerns over ‘excessive’ cannabis packaging

Halef has a background in pharmaceuticals and said she was inspired to get involved in the cannabis industry to explore the medicinal benefits of cannabis.

“There is so much to learn about this drug and its uses and it’s important to really explore that and give people alternative choices rather than just the conventional medicine that’s available for them,” she said.

Christine Halef, president of AtlantiCann Medical Inc., speaks at the opening of the company’s cannabis cultivation facility in Lower Sackville, N.S., on Oct. 22, 2018

Silas Brown/Global News

The 48,000-square-foot facility was built to produce high-quality cannabis for both the medicinal and retail markets. The companies say there are 24 new positions in the facility and there are plans to make the space even larger with a 20,000-square-foot addition in the works.

The facility has even piqued the interest of the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs.

Mike Sack, the assembly’s leader on the cannabis file, told reporters that the assembly has signed a memorandum of understanding with AtlantiCann and GrowForce.

“We’re looking to obtain 51 per cent of this facility, to be a majority owner,” Sack said.

WATCH: Health minister says cannabis demand being ‘handled well’ despite shortages

Sack said the finer details are still being worked out but that the two organizations are well on the way to a productive relationship.

“We are thrilled about the future,” Halef said.

“(AtlantiCann Medical Inc. and GrowForce) share a similar vision and commitment to invest in this community and support its economic prosperity.”

— With files from Silas Brown 

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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