A new take on an old industry could be coming to Chilliwack with dozens of jobs to start with the potential to expand.
That old industry was illegal marijuana growing, but the new one slated for a site on industrial land in west Chilliwack is set to be a federally-licensed facility to grow and process the plant creating a medical-grade product while using organic growing techniques.
And they say you won’t smell a thing.
“Not only will you not smell anything but it’s fairly impossible from the outside to know what is happening on the inside.”
So says Soheil Samimi, CEO of MediGreen Wellness Products out of Vancouver who have applied to the City of Chilliwack to rezone an out-of-the-way Aitken Road property for the company’s first Medical Marihuana Production Facility (MMPF).
Samimi tells The Progress the company is in its infancy, is just working on permitting with Health Canada, but has experienced consultants on board to establish quality control systems using natural growing techniques.
Medical marijuana is big money in Canada with new investments and mergers the talk of the business pages.
MediGreen is new and relatively small to start, but Samimi says they hope to end up with a higher-end product that will allow them to grow into possibly more facilities in the community.
“Unfortunately in this industry right now you don’t have so much access to organic product,” Samimi said. “They use a lot of pesticides. The idea is to cultivate on an organic basis and then focus on a number of products…. You grow good clean organic material and then you can focus on producing extracts.”
Samimi’s company plans to grow marijuana on about 930 square metres – possibly using vertical techniques – out of a 2,450-square-metre industrial medical cannabis growing facility at the 2.2-hectare site at 8300 Aitken Rd., a triangle lot surrounded by water on two sides and the CN Rail line to the north.
He said part of the plan might even include a green roof where the company could grow vegetables to be donated to local food banks.
Samimi said they would likely need 20 to 30 employees minimum throughout the initial phase, but down the road there could be more.
“Our idea would be, over time, to make use of other industrial properties in the City of Chilliwack that would not be for cultivation but in order to bring more operations regarding packaging and a base for R&D.”
Samimi estimates there are about 100 industrial medical marijuana facilities of varying sizes in Canada, not all up and operational at this point.
At its last meeting, Chilliwack city council gave introduction and first reading to the rezoning application to allow for MediGreen’s federally-licensed MMPF.
Back in 2013, city council got ahead of the transition to new rules in 2014 for medical marijuana grow operations by creating the M6 special industrial zone as the only place the operations would be allowed.
Medigreen will also require an OCP amendment all of which will be discussed and decided upon at a public hearing at city hall on Feb. 6 at 7 p.m.