Article by Sarah Smellie, CBC News
A budding local marijuana supplier says the provincial government overlooked Newfoundland and Labrador growers in their recent pot supply deal with a mainland company.
“It is kind of annoying when your own government is using your own taxpayers’ dollars to compete against you,” said Bond Rideout, CEO of NLMedicorp, who has been working on transforming a Placentia Bay fish plant into a medical marijuana production facility.
“We could have a really powerful industry here that’s not only created by Newfoundlanders, but it’s employing Newfoundlanders, and it’s for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.”
The province announced Friday that it had signed a deal with Ontario-based company Canopy Growth Corp.
As part of the deal, the company will invest $55 million to build a facility in the province and supply up to 8,000 kilograms of cannabis per year.
Rideout said the agreement effectively creates a monopoly for Canopy.
“They’re totally putting the cuffs on industry here in Newfoundland by doing this,” he said.
“They’re allowing one player to have such a massive control over the marketplace. It’s very hard to compete.”
Rideout isn’t licensed to produce pot just yet — he’s been working on the application to Health Canada since 2013, he said — but he says he’s poised to produce a lot of it once the licence comes through.
He has a 15,000-square-foot facility right now, he said, and land ready for another 45,000-square-foot facility.