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Second medical marijuana company poised for Nanaimo

Two new medical marijuana operations could bookend the Harbour City.

B.C.-based Wildflower Marijuana Inc. is applying to Health Canada to license its two medical marijuana production facilities in the Nanaimo region.

If approved, it says it would become the largest grower and distributor in the country with 150,000 square feet of growing space on either end of the city. This would also be its first grow operation.

According to William MacLean, Wildflower Marijuana chief executive officer, the company looked across Canada for a production site and the Nanaimo area’s temperate and moderate climate is “ideal” for growing the drug. He says the company is aiming to have the lowest carbon footprint in the industry and environment plays a large factor in that.

Nanaimo’s skilled labour was also a factor in Wildflower’s decision to locate here.

It made its first application to Health Canada to license a six-building operation on 51 hectares in Nanoose Bay and plans to make a second this month for a 14-hectare spread in Yellow Point. Both properties are in the Agricultural Land Reserve, which is allowed by the province although the company would not qualify for farm tax status.

The company also plans to apply for a research and development licence.

“If we can leverage the skilled labour and obviously have that temperate climate there, we think it’s a great place to start a business and I think that it will really benefit the local economy,” said MacLean, who adds that Wildflower is confident its application will get approved.

“I think that having our second application going in is big news for our company. We feel that acquisition there really starts to make us stand out above the other companies in this process.”

Wildflower Marijuana secured its second Yellow Point property and sees having the two separate locations as a plus. It will allow the company to diversify its strains for patients with two production teams and could see its applications looked upon more favourably because Health Canada is looking for “slightly larger producers of cannabis,” MacLean said.

Between the two locations, the company is looking to produce 20,000 kilograms of medical marijuana a year and provide more than 100 jobs once fully operational.

MacLean says more than $40 million would be infused into the region over four to five years if its licence applications are approved.

MacLean also says there’s no reason why other companies wouldn’t look at locating in Nanaimo in the near future based on its access to skilled labour, cost of land and willingness of the local community and government agencies to support the industry. He added that if done right, the companies are only going to benefit the local community.

“I think if we see the benefit of being in Nanaimo, I can definitely see other companies seeing the benefits of it, he said.

“Ultimately we really look forward to working within the community and we really feel there’s some great things for Wildflower and Nanaimo going forward,” he said.

Wildflower includes a former RCMP police chief as head of security and a former United Nations agriculture specialist. There is no date set for building the new facilities or starting operations, which hinge on the Health Canada approval process.

The Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation was not not aware of Wildflower and its applications.

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