The company that owns the Tweed plant in Smiths Falls has ambitious expansion plans as it races to get ready for the introduction of legal recreational marijuana in Canada.
Canopy Growth Corp. is already the world’s largest medical marijuana company, and it’s about to get bigger.
The company will open growing operations in Edmonton and Fredericton, expanding its reach into five provinces, Canopy was to announce Saturday.
Canopy’s goal is to operate facilities across Canada, says CEO Bruce Linton. That will make it easier to offer same-day mail delivery. “Logistically, that makes sense,” Linton says.
Canopy now serves medical marijuana patients. But like many of the country’s licensed medical growers, it is preparing to sell to the much larger “lifestyle” market when the federal government legalizes recreational pot, which is expected by July 2018.
Canopy’s existing facilities are also expanding:
- On Friday, Health Canada approved six new growing rooms at the Smiths Falls facility, adding to the 18 rooms already operating. The old chocolate factory has 470,000 sq. ft. of space. Only about one-third of it is occupied now, but construction is underway to transform the remainder. The Smiths Falls plant is also the centre for developing other products made with cannabis, from drinks to lotions, and eventually manufacturing them as they become legal.
Health Canada also approved on Friday an expansion at Canopy’s 55,000-sq.-ft. Mettrum plant in Bowmanville, Ont., that almost triples the production space, from five growing rooms to 13.
Canopy’s Tweeds Grasslands operation in Yorkton, Sask., received a growing licence in mid-June. The first crop will be planted next month, and the 90,000-sq.-ft. facility is expected to be fully up and running by the summer of 2018. Canopy bought it last month.
- A 7,000-sq.-ft. growing facility in Saint-Lucien, Que., which Canopy bought last fall from a competitor, is ready and awaiting licensing.
All the new Canopy facilities will be given a name that reflects the region in which they are located. For instance, Saskatchewan’s Grasslands is “reflective of the little buffaloes that used to run around there,” Linton laughs.
The new Edmonton plant will be in an existing 160,000-sq.-ft. building that Canopy will lease. The deal is expected to close in August, and tenants of the building will vacate in October. In Fredericton, Canopy has an agreement to buy an empty 100,000-sq.-ft. building that will be used for indoor production.