Since Canada became the first major world economy to legalize recreational cannabis in 2018, producers and cultivators have embraced the new terrain to supply the enormous demand. While farmland is abundant, growers are also ready to impact urban areas such as Montreal with vertical growing systems.
Great White North Growers, a new producer of medical and recreational cannabis, announced plans to build a growing facility in east end Montreal. The cultivation facility is located in Ville d’Anjou, a borough of Montreal and second largest urban center in Canada. Construction was completed on Phase One consisting of 4,000 square feet, and Phase Two of building will be to complete 8,000 square feet. Phase Three will ultimately consist of 54,000 square feet with a capacity of over 17,000 kilograms per year.
A high-efficiency, best-in-class vertical growing system with state-of-the-art climate control (HVAC) and lighting will produce high quality, innovative and unique strains, colors, and terpene profiles. Legacy Grower Kris Love (with over 25 years of experience), will lead the cultivation team. According to CEO and President Peter Schissler, once Phase Three is completed, 125-150 jobs will be created.
“We are really happy to be part of this space for all the good things that this plant can provide people, both medicinally and lifestyle perspective,” Schissler said.
The corporate climate of Great White Growers will embrace environmental consciousness and social responsibility. This cultivation facility will help to balance inequities in the Canadian landscape of growers. Quebec currently represents 8 percent (12 licenses) of the 150 licensed producers in Canada. However, according to the World Population Review, Quebec represents 24 percent of the national population.
While vertical growing systems are one alternative, environmental laws and regulations now must be re-evaluated. There is also the ecological footprint of cannabis production, which involves growing, packaging, and promoting cleaner practices.
Richard Butler, a partner at Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP represents clients operating greenhouses, orchards, and other food production facilities, which are converting their operations to get into the cannabis business.
“Nobody really understands, I think, the complete impact that this new industry is going to have,” said Butler. “Cannabis is another commodity that fits in that model but with yet unknown potential environmental impacts.”
Waste disposal, water use, and emissions from cannabis grow operations will be governed under the Ontario Water Resources Act, Pesticides Act, Nutrient Management Act, and the Environmental Protection Act. Permits for sewer discharge, air, and noise emissions are required in Canada, and its impact on those living near vast, industrial operations will need to be determined.
While rural areas might be considered the most desirable to produce cannabis, consideration will also be given to urban areas with an economic need to entice production facilities.