Banking on the future demand for cannabis-infused foods and drinks, a Southwestern Ontario pot producer is converting its Aylmer growing facility into an extraction plant.
WeedMD, a licensed producer that also has a greenhouse operation in Strathroy, opened the Aylmer operation in a portion of the shuttered Imperial Tobacco plant in 2016.
Now, the 8,000-square-metre space is being converted into a cannabis-oil extraction and processing facility, the company announced Wednesday.
The move allows WeedMD to consolidate cultivation at its Strathroy operation, where the company has a 10,000-square-metre greenhouse – an expansion is underway that will add nearly 40,000 square metres – and a planned outdoor cultivation area.
“It makes sense to streamline the operations, have each site focus on a different core vertical,” chief executive Keith Merker said.
Featuring four extraction lines, the Aylmer plant will be able to process more than 200,000 kilograms of cannabis and hemp – known as biomass – when it’s operational in the fall, Merker said.
Marijuana companies across Canada are preparing for the introduction of cannabis-infused edibles, extracts and topicals. The products will become legal no later than Oct. 17, though it will take longer for them to reach the shelves at marijuana retail stores and the Ontario Cannabis Store, the government-run pot wholesaler.
Consumer spending on cannabis-based food and drink is projected to reach 4.1 billion in the U.S. and Canada by 2022, according to a report by ArcView Market Research and BDS Analytics.