PEI·New

Charlottetown company squeezes out deal to extract cannabis oil

A new P.E.I.-based business is putting the squeeze on cannabis — literally.

When Canada's medical marijuana laws changed, cannabis oil became legal and new opportunities opened up

Last year, Health Canada gave medicinal pot growers the green light to produce cannabis oil and other plant extracts. (CBC)

A new P.E.I.-based business is putting the squeeze on cannabis — literally.

Charlottetown's Advanced Extraction Systems Inc. has just sealed a deal with Canopy Growth, a medical marijuana company based out of Smiths Falls, Ont., to provide the equipment to extract cannabis oil directly from marijuana plants.

In a release, Canopy Growth chairman Bruce Linton said the deal will help meet a growing demand.

"Our extracted oil products have been very popular since being launched to our medical customers earlier this year," he said.

"Looking forward to a broader legal marijuana market, we know we'll need greater capacity and AESI's industrial-scale technology will help us meet the growing demand we're forecasting."

Last year, Health Canada gave medicinal pot growers the green light to produce cannabis oil and other plant extracts, rather than producing medical marijuana strictly in bud form.

Diversified Metal Engineering's first system was built for a research lab in Charlottetown. (CBC)

Supercritical fluid extraction

Through a process called supercritical fluid extraction, the cannabis oil is produced from marijuana using carbon dioxide.

AESI describes itself as "the first and only company" designing and manufacturing extraction equipment for the medical marijuana industry in Canada.

Its manufacturing partner is Diversified Metal Engineering of Charlottetown, which has been building stainless steel products — including beer brewing equipment and other custom products — for more than 25 years.

Diversified Metal Engineering's first system was built for a research lab in Charlottetown.  At half a litre, it's much smaller than the 75-litre system that will be built for cannabis extraction.

AESI currently has six employees but plans to hire engineers to gear up production.

The units will start at about $500,000 and go up to more than $1 million.

About the Author

Nancy Russell has been a reporter with CBC since 1987, in Whitehorse, Winnipeg, Toronto and Charlottetown. When not on the job, she spends her time on the water or in the gym rowing, or walking her dog. Nancy.Russell@cbc.ca

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