Clairtone building to house medicinal marijuana production plant

John Brannen
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Vida Cannabis (Canada) to Purchase 315,000 Sq. Ft. Building

STELLARTON – People. Pride. Pot? It’s high times in Stellarton as a marijuana production corporation looks to use the former Clairtone building to grow medicinal marijuana.

Clairtone building to house medicinal marijuana production plant

Vida Cannabis has signed a purchase and sale agreement to produce marijuana in the long-vacant building.

The deal is scheduled to close on or before April 15 for a total purchase price of $500,000. At full production, Vida Canada indicated a labour force of 200 to 300 employees might be needed although they plan to start with between 20 and 30 and build as demand grows.

The company, which is aiming to take the lead in the rapidly developing global marketplace for the legal use of marijuana, stated the Clairtone building was the perfect structure to house a large-scale medical marijuana production plant.

The project is being funded by a venture capital group and is not looking for any government funding.

“I think there’s a huge business opportunity here and we’re really approaching this as business people,” said CEO of Vida Cannabis, Greg Wilson. “It’s a medical product that’s been proven to alleviate some pretty serious symptoms for patients.”

The location in Stellarton is ideal, with the modern infrastructure in place and the building itself meets the requirements of Health Canada.

“It’s a controlled substance and they want to know the facility has the security in place to monitor the movement of the product,” Wilson said.

Stellarton Mayor Joe Gennoe stated he was delighted to see the Clairtone factory put back into production.

“Albeit in an industry I never could have imagined even five years ago,” he said. “As things change, we too must adapt.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the Town of Stellarton will grant the company a 50-year irrevocable licence to produce medical marijuana at the facility, subject to Vida Canada obtaining a commercial licence from Health Canada. Such local approval is a condition necessary to making a successful application to Health Canada.

"Health Canada has established policies and procedures that ensure the legal production of medical marijuana is secure,” Gennoe said. “We welcome Vida Cannabis to bring much-needed employment opportunities back to the Town of Stellarton and support their efforts."

Wilson noted he is extremely pleased with the total package that accompanies this remarkable facility.

"The people of the Town of Stellarton are at the top of that list. The local support for our Canadian medicinal marijuana operations has been virtually 100 per cent," he said. "We look forward to bringing quality employment opportunities to the area and will hire and train people from the region whenever possible.”

Built by Peter Munk’s Clairtone Sound Corporation in 1966, the production plant manufactured high-end stereos and, briefly, colour televisions. After a series of poor business decisions, growing debts and costs and injections of public funds, Clairtone closed its doors. The building has been largely dormant since

Clairtone’s rise and fall from grace has been chronicled in a book by Maritime author Dan Soucoup called Failures and Fiascos: Atlantic Canada’s Biggest Boondoggles.

While there had been interest in using the building, including Art Munro, who was prepared to purchase the building for $500,000 and transform it into a viable business, nothing had materialized until now.

Vida calls the building itself a virtual fortress, stating the 315,000-square-foot facility is contained entirely under one large, steel roof erected on windowless 18-foot-high concrete walls supported by an engineered concrete floor.

“As the interior of the facility is structured like an aircraft hangar, it is literally wide open with no restrictive points to developing a customized medical marijuana plant that optimizes the building’s entire square footage,” the news release stated.

Vida Canada noted the 12-acre property has a single access point making security remarkably efficient for such a large building, which is already surrounded by a three-metre high fence with barbed wire top.

In keeping with Health Canada requirements for licensing of medical marijuana production facilities, Vida Canada said intrusion detection systems, round-the-clock surveillance and other minor security-related alterations will be implemented.

Wilson said they’ve already engaged a few contractors who would be willing to help do the work to restore the building to the standards necessary.

Once production starts, the marijuana will be shipped throughout Canada to people who have a prescription.

On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn

Organizations: Health Canada, Vida Canada

Geographic location: Stellarton, Canada

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Recent comments

  • Harold Grandy
    July 12, 2014 - 18:56

    Well Stated! Does the name Monsanto ring a bell?

  • Graham
    March 16, 2014 - 15:05

    Hi, i'm from pictou co. living in B.C. I have lots of experience in the production of that herb, from wiring up ballast to ph testing and fertilzation, let me know if you'd take me on thanks.

  • Debby
    March 12, 2014 - 16:43

    Where to start? No idea really? This company "Vida" has virtually no background information when you try to extensively search it except opening a "Medicinal Marijuana" facility in Stellarton. I'm all for progress but this seems to be just another cash cow for a company who realizes that we are just backward enough to buy into a wonderful opportunity. No doubt the government in it's infinite wisdom will give them scads of money to start this facility. No doubt people will be hired but I think we shoul have learned something by now about companies coming into the area and actually hiring local people to work there. Enough said about that. This comment about "recreational usage". Are you kidding me. We already have an overwhelming drug problem in this area so why in God would you want to add to it and say it's okay? Are we really desperate enough to give the go ahead to a company who we know virtually nothing about and apparently have past shady issues by executives that we are willing to compromise our area once again with pipe dreams and ignore the actual issues in the area?

  • Tim Rhude
    March 05, 2014 - 18:58

    I am all for the federal government getting out of producing and distributing medical marijuana. But the this proposal stinks! Before anything is agreed upon the public should know exactly who and where the private money is coming from. Stink of political under handedness abounds. I find it hard to believe that some group from far away would every discover a building like this. We do not need anymore corporations or pharmaceutical companies ripping of the sick and the poor. This should be a small business driven enterprise set with caps so multiple business can process. Time for full disclosure!

  • Odin
    March 02, 2014 - 12:24

    Further to JohnnyB: I would also think that a property zoned as agriculture would mean that you are tilling the land, not growing plants inside a building. This is a commercial enterprise, not a farming issue.

  • Me from town
    March 02, 2014 - 00:29

    JohnnyB. Do you not realize the same people that owned the building and sold it (town of Stellarton) also control the zoning of the property ?

  • JohnnyB
    March 01, 2014 - 14:45

    the building is zoned commercial/industrial not agricultural. Changing the zoning will be very difficult if not impossible.

  • JohnnyB
    March 01, 2014 - 13:20

    This property is zoned commercial not agriculture. This project will be tied up in bureaucratic red tape for years...

  • TD MacRae
    March 01, 2014 - 11:54

    I hope that this is the good news that it looks to be. The skeptic in me has some doubts. From the article..."The local support for our Canadian medicinal marijuana operations has been virtually 100%." Try Googling "Vida Cannabis". Let me know what you find, other than the press around yesterday's announcement. I got six pages of results in and found no reference to the company at all, let alone any reference to other grow-ops in Canada. We had another prospective grow-op in the news in Charlottetown this week. Grow-op firms are making big announcements in economically challenged areas all over Canada (northern Ontario, Windsor, ON, PEI, etc.) and getting lots of press. The Charlottetown prospect touts its operation near Windsor, ON, which hasn't even broken ground yet. It also has a history of "pumping" its penny-stock value with announcements which have not come to fruition. Caveat lector.

    • Lori
      March 02, 2014 - 11:44

      I've tried looking for information on this company as well and have come up with nothing. Not what I was expecting and struck me as a little odd.

  • had to move due to jobs not wanted in pictou county
    March 01, 2014 - 09:49

    makes me sick that every job opportunity that comes to Pictou county gets criticized. No wonder you guys are jobless there because who wants bunch of lazy whiners working for them. time to get off your butts and stop living off ei and welfare

  • craig
    March 01, 2014 - 08:26

    Same as Headz Gamez in Parrsboro setting up in 2006.Vida Canada is not a registered company in Canada.Pure scam.

  • daryll diggins
    March 01, 2014 - 07:42

    UNBELIEVABLE!---after years of politicians,judges,lawyers, police officers,and the elite destroying so many lives of regular citizens for smoking a little weed {which most of them smoked but are above the law],while claiming it to be one of the downfalls of society,now that they've figured out a way to monopolize and profit off it,its the new ,beautiful,wonder get richer...poor get poorer...the law makes sure they can.....beautiful,just beautiful.

  • potretailstore
    March 01, 2014 - 07:39

    Headline states "to produce medical and recreational marijuana". Is this an indication that the use of marijuana for recreational purposes will be legalized and we could see a retail outlet in this new grow op ? Lets rename Acadia Avenue "Marijuana Drive" so all the pot heads from outside of Pictou county can find their way to this new supplier.

  • Mikey
    February 28, 2014 - 23:10

    These couple hundred jobs are at the cost of 33,000 jobs nationwide. I guarantee that every one of those 200-300 potential jobs is offset by several hundred or more small scale growers in PC losing their jobs to a corporation. The net result is a few hundred people making a decent living growing medical pot will lose their jobs, so that a couple hundred people can make minimum wage trimming pot. On average for every one of these 8 biomedical facilities, 4 thousand mom and pop growers are getting shutdown. The illusion of a net gain in jobs is just that, an illusion. Most people have no idea how many small time career legal growers there are/were in their neighbourhoods. For the record I don't grow pot, but being in the gulf islands of BC I know many people who will be affected by this. I'm guessing the growers back east are a bit more hush hush, mums the word about their grow businesses.

  • Evan Colbourne
    February 28, 2014 - 22:05

    Regarding the comment made by Paul, I find it intriguing that in one single paragraph you can declare that you "trust only the facts" and also imply that impending employes of Vida Cannabis "ultimately WILL be" thieves without citing one single piece of evidence supporting this statement. I must also refute your suggestion that Vida would "bring in cheap foreign workers that hurt the local economy before they even consider the locals". I do not reject the possibility of foreign or non-local (Pictou County) employees being hired at Vida, however I think your focus is centred on a rather mundane issue that is aside from what is the ultimate reality of the situation. This proposed facility would be producing medicinal marijuana for a vast group of patients who's quality of life is remarkably improved with this method of treatment, so regardless of where a prospective employee happened to be born and raised, I believe focus should be on finding employees who are the most capable and committed to producing this medicine to the specific need of the patients who require it today and will continue to require it in the future, whether its produced here at home in Pictou County or shipped here from plants in other provinces or possibly foreign countries. I'd also like to add that I am dumbfounded that you believe employees of a facility of this nature would risk their jobs (which absolutely require criminal background checks & drug tests) to smuggle out marijuana into an area that already has an abundance of illegal substances, including marijuana, readily available for those seeking them. I believe this problem is a result of lack of education to the general public on the benefits and drawbacks of marijuana use, and unclear contradictory policies regarding marijuana in the laws of various neighboring nations. This is a very complex ongoing issue and many factors need to be considered before decisions and reform are made to policies and procedure regarding marijuana, perhaps we should consider this before weighing in on any topic, let alone an issue as substantial, controversial and unsettled as where marijuana fits into our laws and lives.

  • Matt-P
    February 28, 2014 - 21:00

    I would also work for you! Also given my professional reference! This is a good deal for all PC person's...

  • maryann
    February 28, 2014 - 20:54

    LOVE this idea! I am all for it, good job PC!!

  • bob MacKenzie
    February 28, 2014 - 18:02

    Geez,hard to believe,STUNNING !!

  • An Observer
    February 28, 2014 - 17:57

    Paul, you represent what is wrong with Pictou County. You don't know word one about the specifics but you run right to the most negative possible conclusions a person could make. Lots of things "WILL" happen and "we all know" and "facts" eh? The only facts you have come from between your ears and that is clearly not a good source. You must be a member of CAVE. Citizens Against Virtually Anything.

  • kim thompson
    February 28, 2014 - 17:24

    i will work here,,,,,

  • Michael
    February 28, 2014 - 17:11

    One would think that any job creation in Pictou County would be a good thing since most people who want a decent job have to leave and find it elsewhere. But who cares if it is only a min wage job...a job is a job the problem is that many of you who complain about the wage would rather sit on your ass and collect welfare than go do something for yourself !

  • Michael
    February 28, 2014 - 17:09

    One would think that any job creation in Pictou County would be a good thing since most people who want a decent job have to leave and find it elsewhere. But who cares if it is only a min wage job...a job is a job the problem is that many of you who complain about the wage would rather sit on your ass and collect welfare than go do something for yourself !

  • NSMamabear
    February 28, 2014 - 16:59

    This is very exciting news. I just looked up the Health Canada regulations about what's required for security and I see no way anyone could steal from a plant they've licensed with cameras and security shack and everything ... The rules are very strict. Time will tell but this seems like a huge opportunity for Stellarton (and the whole area). Nova Scotia's lucky to get one of these medical marijuana places. Usually that kind of stuff always happens in BC! Way to think positive, Mr. Mayor! :)

  • k
    February 28, 2014 - 16:37

    This is amazing. Great job creation in our area, and a great use for this building. It's a good way to keep it's legacy of cool going into the future. Let's get this rolling.

  • Paul
    February 28, 2014 - 16:08

    Just what Stellarton needs? Think about what is bound to happen. Yes, the security may help, but ultimately there WILL be theft by employees trying to make a few extra bucks on the side. No amount of security, inside or out, will prevent it. And what is this about the 200 -300 workers that they'll need? Vida says they will "hire and train people from the region whenever possible", but we all know it will never be possible, because they would prefer to take in foreigners from overseas that will work for half of what local residents will. I trust only the facts, and the facts are that Vida will only worsen that already heavy drug activity in the county, and they, like the other businesses in the county, will bring in cheap foreign workers that hurt the local economy before they even consider the locals like you and I.

  • Palmira Scaddan
    February 28, 2014 - 15:53

    This is a step in helping people of Nova Scotia deal with illnesses especially with the percentage of people who have been diagnosed with cancer in this province. I suppose you can say to also do some testing of the quality of air n water besides this help.

  • Hazie
    February 28, 2014 - 15:37

    We were having talks in 2002-2003 with Jamie Muir about using the Clairtone building to grow weed for the NS patients that have MS. We had a lady from Yarmouth with us.

  • Pat
    February 28, 2014 - 15:35

    200-300 jobs is good news ,,just fill it up with locals first maybe?? or maybe not???Guess it depends on the wage,,but hey if Stellarton residents or Pictou County people , want more than $min wage ,, our Government will happily fill these up with more foreign workers,, but hopefully not!! One thing for sure , IGNORANCE Can be blind when it comes to $$$ and jobs,ESPECIALLY all the anti-pot , uneducated Powers in charge can start to see the light??..just add the tax revenue and it gets BRIGHTER!!

  • Patches
    February 28, 2014 - 15:18

    AWESOME, 200-300 more jobs is EXACTLY what is needed in Pictou County. Finally doing something right.

  • Fat Freddy
    February 28, 2014 - 14:39

    Good for you Stellarton. I, for one, am impressed!