N.L.'s largest cannabis facility planned for Bay St. George

Biome Grow promises to produce marijuana for 20 years and employ 200 people in its operations, headquartered in Barachois Brook.

Biome Grow promising 200 jobs in a 20-year commitment

Minister Christopher Mitchelmore, far left, at the announcement of Biome Growth's deal on Friday. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Another company planning to grow and sell marijuana in Newfoundland and Labrador says its setup in the Bay St. George area, once complete in 2019, will be the province's largest.

Biome Grow, a company based in Ontario that bills itself as "Canada's Next Cannabis Conglomerate," announced on Friday it has committed to producing cannabis for 20 years at a facility in Barachois Brook, just outside St. George's, via its Newfoundland-based subsidiary Back Home Medical Cannabis Corp.

That plan got an enthusiastic reception as it was announced at a press conference Friday morning.

"I'm very, very proud. It's a surreal feeling," said Dave Callahan, Back Home's president and a longtime entrepreneur in the St. George's area.

"I'm feeling ambitious. I know that this is gonna be huge for our area."

By the end of 2019, Biome Grow said in a press release it expects to have produced its first crops at an 18,000 sq. ft. facility, as well as expanded that same facility to 168,000 sq. ft, spending $60-million doing so.

Biome Grow has signed a three-year contract to supply 24,000 kg of cannabis to the province.

The deal makes Biome Grow the second large-scale supplier of cannabis in Newfoundland and Labrador. Canopy Growth's production facility in St. John's is still under construction, and its entire deal has been the subject of recent political controversy.

Currently, no environmental assessment for the Barachois Brook facility has yet been filed with the province. Canopy Growth has completed that bureaucratic hurdle, as have cannabis facilities in Clarenville, Burin and Corner Brook.

Jobs and stores

Biome Grow said it expects to create 120 jobs at its production plant. Its agreement with the province also allows for five retail stores, which it said could create another 80 jobs. The first of the stores is planned to be near the Barachois Brook facility.

Callahan said the average salary for the production costs will be in the ballpark of $54,000 annually.

Biome Grow will get both research and development funds from the province, as well as a break on its sales remittances to the NLC. (Harold Dupuis/CBC)

The company also said it will spend $500,000 over the next five years toward research and development. 

"The important thing is, this is not any money out of taxpayers. We're not investing any money up front into any particular matter," said Christopher Mitchelmore, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation.

Similar to the provincial deal with Canopy Growth, Biome will also get a break on the commission charged when it sells its product to the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation.

The company will be allowed to keep a portion of that commission up to a maximum of $52-million, over the next five years. Canopy Growth will be allowed up to $40-million.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story stated the provincial government was giving Biome Grow $500,000 towards research and development. The company itself has promised to invest that money.
    Nov 02, 2018 2:00 PM NT