Family's cannabis business will bring new life to former Lear plant in Kitchener

James E. Wagner Cultivation will be expanding their family business. They recently signed a lease to move into the former Lear plant on Manitou Drive in Kitchener.

The 275,000-square-foot plant will provide space for more cultivation, office space

James E Wagner Cultivation in Kitchener was started by Nathan Woodworth, middle. His brother Adam and sister Laura Foster have joined him to help grow the medical cannabis company. (Submitted photos)

A Kitchener family business is going to breath new life to the former Lear plant on Manitou Drive as they have their eyes set on expanding their medicinal cannabis company.

Earlier this year, James E. Wagner Cultivation (JWC) received a license from Health Canada to produce medical cannabis and are now looking to prepare for next year's federal legalization of marijuana.

"Moving into the Lear plant was the biggest steps that we are taking," Nathan Woodworth, CEO of JWC told CBC News.

"We know we need to produce a lot more cannabis. Our goal by July 1, 2018 is to produce orders of 40 kg of cannabis every day. We believe that the Lear building at the end of 2018 will be able to produce 60 to 70 kg of cannabis a day."

A government report from the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer notes in 2018, Canadian are expected to consume an estimated 655 metric tons of cannabis, which works out to about 1,800 kg daily.

The 275,000-square-foot plant will give plenty of space for JWC to expand their cultivation, processing and storage.

Woodworth added it will provide them space for more offices and to add a call centre. They also plan to hire 600 individuals within the next year. 
The Lear plant offers 275,000 square-feet. JWC plan to expand their cultivation, processing and storage. (Google Street View)

Tapping into the recreational market

Woodworth explained Health Canada regulates cannabis producers and will continue to do the same for those tapping into the recreational market as well.

The licensed producers servicing the medicinal market will be the first wave of producers for the recreational market.

"The same license that producers now have to get in order to supply the medicinal market will be the license that they need to get in order to supply the recreational market," he said.

Once marijuana is legalized next year, JWC's production may extend to growing and producing recreational cannabis on top of their medicinal product.

"We know we need to drastically expand the basis of production in order to be able to meet the needs of Canadians as they approach the recreational market," Woodworth said.

Recently, Ontario announced it would distribute marijuana through retail locations similar to the LCBO. 

Woodworth said they may work with Ontario's cannabis retailers in the future.

"I think it's in the best interest of Canada and of Ontario that those types of distributions methologies access a wide variety of cannabis," he said. "There are going to be differences in quality, in price and in the end it will be a matter of prefrence."


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