Moncton weed grower expands production capacity, workforce

A Moncton-based cannabis producer has opened an expansion that significantly increases its ability to produce the soon-to-be-legal drug.

Organigram's addition to Moncton plant will increase its cannabis production to 22 million grams a year

With Organigram's next expansion, the company plans to be able to produce 36 million grams of cannabis a year. (CBC)

A Moncton-based cannabis producer has opened an expansion that significantly increases its ability to produce the soon-to-be-legal drug.

Organigram opened phase two of its operation, a 100,000-square-foot plant, on Tuesday.

Greg Engel, the CEO of the company, said the expansion will increase Organigram's yield to 22 million grams of cannabis a year.

Another expansion is scheduled to open later this year, he said.

Organigram unveils its phase two expansion. It plans to expand once more to prepare for the legalization of pot. 1:24

"Starting in June, we'll actually be able to produce 36 million grams on an annual basis going forward," Engel said.

"That's five to six times what our current production facility was able to produce."

Because of the increase in production space, Organigram, which started with 70 employees in March 2017, has been rapidly hiring staff. It now has 175 employees and expects to have 270 by June.

"We actually have our second annual job fair coming up … this weekend," Engel said.

Delay not a problem

Organigram CEO Greg Engel says a delay in the legalization of cannabis will allow the company to build up stock. (CBC)

Earlier this year, the federal government announced that cannabis likely wouldn't be legalized by the initial promised date of July 2018.

But Engel said a short delay would not harm Organigram.

"At the end of the day, we'll be in a position to build up inventory for when the … recreational market launches," he said.

"If that delay happens to the end of the summer, early fall, it doesn't change anything for us."

Even if that delay were to last significantly longer, Organigram has a plan: add new markets.

"Most of Europe that has medical programs in place don't allow for domestic production," Engel said.

"To date we have not exported to Europe in those medical markets, but we are actively looking to do that in the near future."

With files from Harry Forestell