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Retrofitted sea cans to house Regina’s first micro cannabis cultivator

Rick Turchet, president and CEO of VIGR Life Cannabis Inc., are preparing to be the first licensed micro cultivator in Regina. Getty Images

A Saskatchewan company is preparing to grow marijuana in sea cans at an undisclosed location.

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Rick Turchet, president and CEO of VIGR Life Cannabis Inc. (VIGR), said they were recently issued two micro cultivation licences by Health Canada and have started setting up in a building in Regina.

Read more: Saskatchewan cannabis businesses seeing increased demand during coronavirus pandemic

“It’s in a … commercial/industrial area. We don’t give the address out because I mean, security’s a big deal of this industry, obviously,” he said.

“We just don’t want to draw attention to ourselves. All we’re doing is growing … we don’t need consumers or anybody coming by. We are secure, but still.”

Turchet said VIGR will be the first micro cannabis cultivator in Regina.

“There is others (in Saskatchewan) that are in the (rural municipalities) from what I understand and in a few cities across the province including Weyburn, Nipawin, Swift Current, I believe, and in Saskatoon,” Turchet said.

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Eight other micro cultivation licences exist in Saskatchewan, according to Health Canada’s website on Friday.

To help get their business off the ground, VIGR has partnered with Winnipeg-based Delta 9 Cannabis Inc. which has provided 24 “grow pods.”

“We kind of provide, I’ll call it, a turnkey platform for operators like VIGR to participate in the cannabis sector here in Canada,” said John Arbuthnot, founder and CEO of Delta 9.

“We take a standard 40-foot-high cube shipping container. We install customized wall panels, electrical lighting, HVAC, security systems. It gives us a production unit effectively for cannabis that’s modular, scalable and it’s also stackable.

“From 24 pods, we would generally anticipate about 30 to 35 kilos per pod per year. So depending on how many of those (VIGR’s) actually using for the output or the flowering function, I would think they’re probably in the area of 600 to 1,000 kilos per year.” 

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Arbuthnot said VIGR is its first cultivation partner in Saskatchewan.

“Overall, including our micro cultivation partners, we would be above 10,000 kilos per year,” Arbuthnot said.

“For reference, the Canadian marketplace is currently demanding somewhere in the area of about 300,000 kilos per year.”

Delta 9 is planning to buy and sell VIGR’s cannabis in its retail network that now spans six provinces.

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“We’re now coast-to-coast … VIGR, I could imagine, will be a little bit bigger, would probably be a mix of a few provincial markets for their brand,” Arbuthnot said.

“Interestingly enough, we announced (Tuesday) morning that we have acquired a store in Lloydminster, Sask., which is our first licensed retail store in Saskatchewan. So we’ll give a, I guess, call it a local outlet for product in the Saskatchewan market and we are planning additional retail expansion into the Saskatchewan market.”

Read more: Saskatoon medical cannabis company making potential COVID-19 vaccine components

Turchet said they’re planning on growing the business to meet a growing market.

“If you look at the potential … and retail sales that they say is about $10 billion. So it’s significant. And it could be significant potentially for this province too, as we do more research, as we continue to grow, not only just grow, but … the potential for retail stores and (pharmaceutical) parts of the sector,” Turchet said.

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“We have six (employees) … We’re looking at double that by the end of next year. Our strategy. I want to get too much deep into it, but it will include additional micros and further vertical integration.”

VIGR it aiming to start growing in the next couple of weeks, with the first shipment done late-January.

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