New Brunswick

Budding business grows in a different direction

Glen Herrington had plans to grow medical marijuana on his residential farmland with the purpose of selling it to a CBD oil producer.

Glen Herrington's plans to start a marijuana grow-op were denied by the province

Glen Herrington is starting a greenhouse business now that his plan to grow marijuana to sell to CBD oil producers was stopped by government. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Glen Herrington's buzz for his budding business idea was killed when the province denied a key  application he needed to start a micro-cultivation marijuana grow-op on his residential farmland in Nasonworth, just 15 kilometres south of Fredericton.

Herrington's original plan was to grow medical marijuana on his 10 acres, or about four hectares, on his home property on Mowrey Lane, with the idea to sell to a CBD oil producer.

Neighbours, concerned about things like the smell and decreasing property values, kicked up a stink about the plan. Ultimately the government denied a crucial rezoning application in the spring that nixed the whole startup.

"I was shocked, but I was devastated," Herrington said at his Nasonworth property on Thursday. 

Herrington's rejection letter from government outlines concerns raised by people in the area and expressed at a public meeting in December 2019. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Herrington said he knew there was a chance the application would be denied, but he was optimistic, since he already had approval from Regional Service Commission 11 to grow marijuana on his property.

With that approval and eager to get his business started, he invested $40,000 in equipment and materials so he could start growing marijuana as soon as he got the final approval from the province — which he never got. 

Herrington, who also runs a driving school as a primary source of income, had been financially sidelined for weeks at the time of his rejection letter because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

"That went sideways, no problem — life goes on, and now we're going to grow vegetables." 

Herrington is experimenting with micro-greens now, which he plans to sell as part of his new greenhouse business. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Herrington said he was concerned about the price of food and access to produce during the pandemic — so he started growing his own tomatoes and micro-greens.

And he saw an opportunity to use the equipment he'd already bought o start a greenhouse business.

Herrington said he researched greenhouses "very extensively" while doing the groundwork for his marijuana business plan, and he went ahead and purchased the same greenhouse he had picked out for his grow-op.

After the province denies his rezoning application, budding pot grower Glenn Herrington switches to fresh produce. 2:14

There's already a large transportation container on Herrington's property that was intended to be used to grow marijuana — but now it's being used to grow micro-greens, using lights that were intended for his grow-op.

"I'm learning how to grow micro-greens and what kinds grow faster and slower, and what has a better taste."

Herrington has already started growing tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beets and cucumbers, which will be moved inside his greenhouse when it arrives. 

Herrington had purchased this container to grow marijuana. Now he's using it to grow micro-greens. (Gary Moore/CBC)

And it wasn't only physical equipment that Herrington had invested in for his previous business plan, he already had a name incorporated to use which he'll now use for his greenhouse business.

"I can still use the name as York County Growers and we're growing greens for everybody," Herrington said.

Herrington said he's planning to grow vegetables year round in his greenhouse, which will be heated with a wood furnace. 

He hopes to have everything up and running in the fall.

About the Author

Gary Moore

CBC News

Gary Moore is a video journalist based in Fredericton.

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