The cannabis production facility just outside of Elk Point will finish construction this year.
Tim Havener and Ryan Hahn of the Lakeland Cannabis Corporation are excited about the future after acquiring 35 acres along the north end of the industrial subdivision from the Town of Elk Point in 2019.
“We’ll be finished by the end of the year,” said Havener, who is from Elk Point and owns Home Town Grocers.
“We did everything we could last year. We ended up building a road and we put in the utilities, water, and sewer and road and chainlink fence….we’re just waiting for spring to happen and as soon as it thaws, then we’re good to go,” he said.
The cannabis production business is a new one with legalization coming in late 2018, and the federal government has taken time to adjust and approve licenses for facilities.
The Lakeland Cannabis Corporation applied for three licenses – cultivation, medicinal, and processing.
These licenses would allow them to grow cannabis, sell to medicinal cannabis companies and process it before its sold to the government.
The current rules say that a facility must be fully built before you can receive a full license.
Until then, you have a partial license and must pass the government’s regulations or “test,” said Havener.
“You have to prove yourself, so you have to grow consecutive crops for the government and provide it to them in the packaging that you are going to be basically giving to them, so they can distribute to the stores. They basically inspect it and test it and then if they’re happy and satisfied, then you get a green light from Health Canada,” he said.
If things go their way, the Havener and Hahn hope to employ between 12-30 people full-time at the facility.
Their long-term goal would be to *expand the site to 100 acres, which could employ up to 100 people.
The company has heard some opposition though since the announcement in March, like Elk Point smelling like cannabis, but Havener believes they shouldn’t be concerned and that it could be an opportunity for the small town to diversify into other business sectors.
“As long as you have it properly filtered, you’re going to filter out 99.9 per cent of the smell….I definitely don’t want the town to smell like marijuana from one end to the other,” he said.
“Everybody kind of has their own view, but I feel like the majority of town is maybe a little excited because in five years from now, you know, if I do employ 100 people, which that’s the plan, how much is the housing going to come back and stability of the community?”
Havener said by the time snow arrives again in 2020 the building should be finished, which begins the next phase toward being operational.
He added that limited shares of the company are available as well.
*Correction: The facility is 30,000 square ft and could expand up to 100,000 sq ft, not 100 acres.