Marijuana could soon be produced in Stellarton.
Stellarton Mayor Danny MacGillivray confirmed that he has been told Zenabis has received approval from Health Canada to grow marijuana in Stellarton in the 315,000-square-foot building that once housed the Clairtone plant.
Rumours had been circulating around Pictou County that an official announcement will soon be coming from the company. A spokesperson for Zenabis said an announcement will be coming on April 6.
"It's big news for Stellarton and Pictou County," said MacGillivray in an interview. "It's a big, major employer coming to Stellarton.”
According to information he’s received, the company will hire 50 people full-time in the first year.
“I expect in the coming years it'll mean a lot more than that," he said
Zenabis currently has operations in Atholville in northern New Brunswick as well as British Columbia.
“The company comes with a proven track record and a solid production reputation,” he said.
MacGillivray said the interior of the building on Acadia Avenue in Stellarton is about two-thirds complete and expects construction to start in the next couple of weeks to finish it. After that there will be a training period and then production can begin.
Health Canada media relations officer Andre Gagnon said the department also couldn’t confirm the application was approved.
“Health Canada cannot comment on specific applications, or the status of an application, under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), as these applications are considered confidential business information,” he stated.
MacGillivray said he learned the approval was given on Friday.
About the facility
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. It was later used by Sears for a period of time and for storage. Vida Cannabis purchased the building in 2014 and set about completing a renovation, stripping it down to the steel beams and starting from scratch. With the majority of renovations complete, it has sat dormant waiting for approval from Health Canada. According to Zenabis’s website, it and Vida Cannabis are both part of the Sun Pharm family.
In December 2017, a position was posted on the job boards for the Stellarton facility. Zenabis at the time was recruiting for what it calls a section grower or lead production supervisor.
According to the job description, that’s someone who manages commercial medical marijuana facility operations and performs such tasks as cloning, transplanting, plant maintenance, pest and pathogen management, trimming, drying, curing, packaging and inventory management.
The salary for the full-time job in Stellarton is $45,000 and included a six-month to one-year training period at the company’s Atholville facility in northern New Brunswick.
– WITH FILES FROM JAMES RISDON