Stellarton urges Health Canada to green-light local marijuana plant
Mayor hopes letter to Health Canada will breathe life back into Vida Cannabis's plan to open plant
The Town of Stellarton, N.S., is urging Health Canada to quickly approve a proposed medical marijuana production facility in the community, an enterprise the mayor says would bring much-needed jobs to the area.
At a town council meeting this week, a motion was passed to write a letter to Health Canada in support of Vida Cannabis's plan to operate a pot plant at the old Clairtone building on Acadia Street.
"The intent of it was to expedite the process of making 114 Acadia St. as operations for a cannabis production facility," said Stellarton Mayor Danny MacGillivray.
"In Stellarton we have a highly unacceptable unemployment rate and that's one of the reasons why we want to see the facility operational, so we can employ some of our residents. It would be an economic driver for the region."
At least 100 jobs
MacGillivray hopes the letter will breathe some life back into Vida Cannabis's project, which he said would bring a minimum of 100 jobs if the plant opens.
The company purchased the facility in 2014 and has invested heavily in transforming the site. But work has been put on hold because Health Canada has not granted a licence.
"It was basically in a state of disrepair when Vida Cannabis bought it, but they've put millions of dollars into a new roof and a high level security system and things like that," said MacGillivray.
"Now it's basically a state-of-the-art facility, but it just needs someone with a licence to make it operational."
CBC News reached out to Vida Cannabis for comment, but the company has not yet responded.
Vida Cannabis has already passed certain criteria for approval, including a security check. But getting final licence approval to produce marijuana isn't easy. There are currently more than 400 medical marijuana licence applications in progress and to date only 38 have been issued.
"Our understanding is that Health Canada puts big importance on the community buying into these type of facilities," said MacGillivray. "We want them to know that we are accepting of this facility here in Stellarton."
While campaigning for the Stellarton mayoral job last fall, MacGillivray said he heard overwhelming support for the pot plant.
MacGillivray said the letter will be sent out this week and a copy will also go to Central Nova Liberal MP Sean Fraser.