Article by Christopher Guly, Ottawa Citizen
Before the last federal election, the idea of openly growing pot in a field would have been dismissed as reefer madness — and illegal, too. But the Liberals won that contest, formed government, and their campaign promise to legalize recreational marijuana came to fruition this month.
The legislation has also spawned the first proposed (and legal) outdoor cannabis farm in the Ottawa Valley.
Mark Spear, a 34-year-old Ottawa native who has worked in the cannabis industry since 2014, wants to create a “canna-tourism” complex that would grow more than 100,000 cannabis plants by 2020, run workshops on how to grow and cook with marijuana, and allow visitors to relax at a pot-friendly spa.
It’s an ambitious plan for Spear, who last November founded Burnstown Farms Cannabis Company.
In April, he launched a private round of investment to raise $2.88 million — through the sale of 24 million common shares at a price of 12 cents per share — to purchase the property and obtain licensing to create an operation that would extract oil from dried cannabis and sell it to manufacturers to produce edibles, beverages and vaporizer cartridges, all of which are expected to be legal for use in Canada by next year.
A further round of financing to raise $10 million to cover infrastructure and operating expenses will follow this fall.