Delta greenhouse plans big-time production of marijuana

An East Ladner greenhouse operation plans to get into the large scale production of marijuana.

Village Farms International today announced it has formed a joint venture with Emerald Health Therapeutics, a B.C.-based licensed producer of medical cannabis, for the purpose of producing, cultivating and distributing wholesale cannabis and cannabis extracts for medical purposes. Also, if permitted by law, the operation plans to grow pot for “non-therapeutic” purposes.

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Village Farms is initially contributing 25 acres of their greenhouse facility on Highway 10 for cannabis production. The joint venture also outlines an option to lease or purchase an additional 85 acres.

The initial 1.1 million square feet of potential greenhouse cannabis production is estimated to yield more than 75,000 kilograms of product annually.

Village Farms notes the “formation of the joint venture is a transformational opportunity for Village Farms that will see the conversion of one of its existing Delta, BC greenhouse assets to grow a substantially more profitable agricultural product.”

Regulatory approval from Health Canada to grow the medical marijuana is still required.

Three years ago, Delta passed a bylaw prohibiting the production, storage, research or sale of medical marijuana anywhere in the municipality.

The bylaw initially applied to all zones, including agricultural, although applications to grow the product would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The idea was to keep any potential operations within industrial zones.

The provincial government later struck down part of the bylaw that prohibited the production of medical pot on farmland.

As far as legal recreational pot, that could be just a year away.

Legalizing recreational marijuana was one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's campaign promises in 2015. His government established a task force to make recommendations, which proposed a complete legalization model, although there would be age, personal possession and growing limits for the average user.

The government recently tabled legislation to end the prohibition on pot.

The issue will be studied in committee and the plan is to legalize marijuana in Canada by July 1, 2018.

Investors are reportedly expecting Canada to have a multi-billion-dollar recreational marijuana market within five years of legalization.

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