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$12M medical marijuana investment made near Windsor, Ont

Lakeshore Township has landed a $12-million investment in the medical marijuana field.

CEN Biotech hopes to be up and running in 7 months

Economic development corporation CEO Sandra Pupatello says Windsor-Essex might be the prime location to marry high-level security with agribusiness. (CBC)

Lakeshore Township has landed a $12-million investment in the medical marijuana field.

CEN Biotech, a subsidiary of Creative Edge Nutrition, will grow and sell medical marijuana at a facility in Lakeshore.

Lana Drouillard, director of marketing and communications for the Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation, previously told CBC News that CEN Biotech is licensed by Health Canada to produce and sell medical marijuana.

That's not entirely true. CEN president Bill Chaaban said his company has been granted "a ready-to-build" letter.

The 4 hectare\10.3-acre lot off Manning Road, near the the Essex County OPP detachment at Highway 401, already has a 27,000-square-foot building on site. Chaaban plans to build a 58,000-square-foot facility and enclose the entire site with a four-metre, barbed wire fence.

"It will replicate a federal prison," Chaaban said.

Once built and secure, Health Canada will conduct a pre-licence inspection and then, if satisfied, issue a licence.

"We're going to set the [security] standard in the industry," Chaaban said.

Two retired Windsor police officers will work on site, as will two off-duty OPP officers, paid for by CEN Biotech.

Chaaban expects to employ up to 50 people on site. He said ancillary jobs at an off-site call centre to take orders are also possible.

"We hope to have the facility built by the end of April and be up and running seven months from now," Chaaban said.

CEN Biotech has applied to hydroponically grow and sell 1.3 million pounds of marijuana each year.

"That's more than the market will bear right now," Chaaban said.

So the company has also applied to export pot overseas.

Economic development corporation CEO Sandra Pupatello praised the investment.

“It’s interesting to note that Windsor-Essex might indeed be the prime location to marry high-level security with agribusiness expertise," Pupatello said in a media release. "Health Canada has moved CEN Biotech one step closer to that reality. We are especially pleased to be here ... for an economic development announcement that will benefit the whole region.”

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