Lively-based Greenhouses Canada makes foray into cannabis industry
Company plans to grow its own cannabis, assist other growers in northern Ontario
With legal recreational cannabis coming to Canada on October 17, more and more businesses in northeastern Ontario are getting involved in the burgeoning pot industry.
Greenhouses Canada, a Lively-based company, recently launched a cannabis division. It plans to grow cannabis at a new facility in Espanola and to assist other growers with cultivation planning, construction and onsite operations.
"I think it just kind of organically evolved for us," Jeff Scharf, the company's president, explained.
When Greenhouses Canada first launched in 2014, the company focused on developing year-round indoor growing facilities for produce. Scharf says it wasn't long before the cannabis industry approached the company for its expertise.
"We worked for a variety of different licensed-to-produce companies, to work on a variety of issues like building, construction, floor plans, design, equipment, lighting, all of that type of stuff. And from there we've kind of just evolved ourselves into the market."
Economic benefits for the north
Greenhouses Canada has applied to Health Canada to receive a license to produce cannabis, and Scharf hopes their facility in Espanola will be up and running by early next year.
The company is also working with three other businesses in the north that plan to be operational within the next few months.
Scharf says the fast-growing industry could be a boon for northern Ontario's economy, from employment to secondary markets like the food and beverage industry.
"There's unlimited amounts of different secondary niche markets that are going to come from this. So I think that it's really hard to predict how much of an impact it'll have, but it's certainly going to be a big one for sure," he said.
Although Greenhouses Canada plans to focus predominantly on producing cannabis for medical purposes, Scharf says the company is trying to keep pace with the industry, which is rapidly evolving as legalization approaches.
"We're trying to stay as trendy as possible and understand the direction the industry is going. So, although it's a challenge because it's moving so quickly, we're trying to adapt with it."