Delta recreational marijuana production on grand scale

Health Canada has given the go-ahead for another large-scale Delta greenhouse to grow pot.

Emerald Health Therapeutics, a B.C.-based licensed producer of medical cannabis, today announced it has been granted approval to grow medical marijuana at the Village Farms International greenhouse in East Ladner. The joint venture is planning to grow recreational cannabis when it’s legalized this summer.

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A news release states the license permits Emerald Health to capitalize on its optimally designed 1.1- million-square-foot cannabis growing facility, called the Delta 3 greenhouse, which in its entirety is expected to “conservatively” produce more than 75,000 kilograms of marijuana annually.

It also states “the goal to be the low-cost cannabis Canadian producer at an all-in production cost of less than $1.00 per gram at full production” and that the joint venture is “well positioned to be a leading supplier in the imminent legal adult-use Canadian cannabis market.”

Conversion of the first 250,000 square foot section of the 1.1-million-square-foot Delta 3 is substantially complete and is expected to commence production this April.

Conversion of the remainder of the 1.1-million-square-feet is underway and the entire facility is expected to be in production in 2019.

The joint venture holds options on two additional greenhouse spaces owned by Village Farms, called Delta 2 and Delta 1, with 1.1-million-square-feet and 2.6 million-square-feet of growing capacity, respectively.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in East Ladner, the SunSelect greenhouse was also recently granted approval to grow pot. It’s a joint venture with a firm called Canopy, creating the new company called BC Tweed.

The city of Delta is bringing forward a resolution at this September's Union of B.C. Municipalities convention calling on the provincial government to “prohibit or place restrictions on the use of ALR land for cannabis production.”

Outlining concerns about the displacement of traditional food production and adverse effects on agricultural land values, the city notes “there has been considerable interest from cannabis growers involving the potential for several million square feet of greenhouse space being turned over to cannabis production.”

Ian Paton, also the Liberal MLA for Delta South, said he’ll be speaking with the agriculture minister this week about the issue.

“I know now for a fact we have three different greenhouses in Delta converting close to between 80 to 100 acres of greenhouse space from food production to marijuana production,” he warned.

Mayor Lois Jackson said marijuana should be grown in warehouse facilities.

Council turned down a motion by Jeannie Kanakos to remove the word “prohibit” from the Delta resolution, saying as strong a message as possible needs to be delivered to the province.  

Robert Campbell said having “prohibit” in the motion is where the discussion needs to start.

“I think what’s going to happen in the long-term is that we’re going to see that, like any other product, cannabis has its market limits, and there isn’t going to be an endless need for the product not only in our community but in British Columbia and Canada. There’s a limit to the market,” he added. “Everybody wants to get in on it but only so many are going to make money, and the rest are going to fail.”

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