Tucked away in British Columbia’s Coastal western hemlock rainforest, a small mill town anticipates the arrival of a new Licensed Producer of medical cannabis. The production facility, planned to be built in Powell River, BC, is scheduled to be equipped this summer.
In 2013, Santè Veritas Therapeutic (formerly True Health Company) submitted its application to Health Canada’s Marijuana for Medical Purposes Program (now the ACMPR), in its bid to become a Licensed Producer of medicinal cannabis. Having recently completed Stage 5 of the application process, Santè Veritas has announced that Colorado-based tech firm Surna Inc. will be designing the new facility and providing the equipment needed for the farm’s Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) system.
Surna was hired, according to Santè Veritas CFO Suzanne Wood, because “its energy-efficient environmental-control system provides one of the highest levels of biosecurity and is designed to meet our goal of delivering the absolute highest-quality product.”
No stranger to CEA farming, nor to ACMPR-compliant licensed cannabis production, Surna says they have previously designed and equipped production facilities for at least one other high-profile Canadian LP, with Santè Veritas being their fifth overall Canadian client. Founded in 2009, Surna specialises in cannabis cultivation technology with a focus on CEA systems that allow farmers to control environmental elements like temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, and even atmospheric molecular balance, with an aim to improve the efficiency, reliability, and overall yield of cannabis harvests.
That aim is shared by Santè Veritas, which hopes to produce a variety of strains for an expected total of 2,800 kilograms of dried cannabis within its first year, valued at an estimated $19,000,000 (CAD).
To do that, according to their application to Health Canada, Santè Veritas will bring 35-40 jobs to the region as it hires tenders and technicians to operate the 12,500 square foot facility. With Powell River’s total population just above thirteen thousand, this job creation is especially beneficial, as the town’s unemployment rate is higher than both the provincial and national averages.
But satisfying the requirements set out by Health Canada to bring a Licensed Producer to the area is neither a fast nor easy process. The project has been in the works for over three years, and won’t be authorized for production until all the site renovations are complete, the equipment is installed and working, and all health and safety standards are confirmed.
“It’s been a grind conforming to everything Health Canada wanted,” said Santè Veritas Project Manager Bob Poore in a 2016 article in The Powell River Peaks, adding, “we’re pretty comfortable now that we can deliver everything they need at the point of inspection.”
That final inspection is now contingent only on the completion of their Powell River cultivation facility, the preparation of which is budgeted at $3,000,000 (CAD), with $835,000 earmarked for the design of the facility and the equipment needed for the farm’s CEA systems.
The new production facility will be built within the administrative building previously owned by Catalyst Paper, which the City of Powell River acquired in 2011. Santè Veritas will lease the property with option to buy, and the City-owned building will be used to farm and cure cannabis for ACMPR patients across Canada.
According to Powell River Mayor David Formosa, Santè Veritas Therapeutic has also been given options on two adjacent properties; one being undeveloped land for future expansion in the form of a derivatives production lab, and the other being a collection of buildings no longer used by the town’s pulp mill.
Surna’s recent press release states that they expect to ship the equipment to Powell River in the third quarter of 2017, which could mean a first harvest for Santè Veritas as early as mid to late Autumn.
Featured image via Wikipedia.