Canada's largest outdoor cannabis farm ready for growth
Jackie Dunham, with a report from CTV News Kitchener’s Zayn Jinah
Published Wednesday, May 29, 2019 9:26AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 29, 2019 10:18AM EDT
After receiving the greenlight from Health Canada, preparations are underway in southern Ontario for what will soon be Canada’s largest legal outdoor cannabis farm.
Located on 100 acres of land in Brant County, just west of Hamilton, Ont., 48North’s farm is about to be home to 250,000 marijuana plants.
The company already operates two indoor cannabis facilities in Ontario, in Kirkland Lake and Brantford, but the owners call this particular undertaking “unprecedented” in the country.
“It’ll be Canada’s largest and likely the world’s largest legal cannabis farm,” Jeannette Vandermarel, a co-CEO and director of 48North, told CTV News Kitchener on Tuesday.
While most legal cannabis operations are confined to growing their plants indoors, Vandermarel said planting marijuana outdoors will allow them to produce larger and taller crops.
“We’ll be planting them out in the fields and it will grow quickly,” she said. “They call it weed for a reason.”
Alison Gordon, a co-CEO and director of 48North, said outdoor farms provide more economic benefits as well.
“When you’re growing outdoor, you have a low-cost input and a quality input that you’re able to extract and turn into the vapes, and edibles, and all these products that both patients and consumers are really for in the Canadian market,” she explained.
The soil, too, is an important factor in determining the quality of the crops and Vandermarel said their location, which was once used to grow tobacco, is perfect for their purposes.
“This is ideal land to grow cannabis on,” she said. “It grows really well here in southern Ontario. There’s a lot of people growing it currently with medical patients.”
The owners said security will be a priority with so many acres of valuable plants to protect.
Mike Garbowsky, a security manager for the company, said they will have fencing, motion sensors, and more than 100 cameras on the farm to ensure that intruders stay off the grass.
The outdoor operation will also be a source of employment for approximately 200 seasonal workers and at least 50 full-time staff when production begins, according to the owners.
Vandermarel said they may need to hire even more workers as she expects there will be plenty of room for growth in the market.
“This really is a game changer for the industry and I think outdoor cultivation will be the norm,” she said.