Brendan Kennedy

Medical pot grower ships first product from Nanaimo facility

NANAIMO – New medical marijuana production facility celebrated its grand opening and first shipment on Monday.

Medicinal bud is now being grown and shipped from Nanaimo’s new marijuana production facility.

Tilray, the face of B.C.-based Lafitte Ventures, celebrated the official opening of its production facility at Duke Point on Monday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, tours and its first shipment of medical marijuana.

Renovations on the multi-million-dollar building got underway last December after Nanaimo city council approved rezoning. The result is an estimated $15-million investment into an industrial facility that will have the potential to serve up to 8,000 patients a month and store $30 million worth of medicinal pot.

With barbed-wire fence, intrusion-detection devices, cameras and security guards, the vault storing the medical marijuana is virtually a bank inside a prison, according to Brendan Kennedy, chief executive officer of Tilray, who offered local dignitaries and media a peek inside the facility as part of opening-day celebrations.

Kennedy believes the building design and growing technology are among the ingredients needed to keep his company competitive.

Tilray offers 40 strains of marijuana and according to the company, “hundreds” of patients have signed up to purchase pot.

“We’ve invested to produce cannabis on a scale unlike anything that’s currently available in Canada,” Kennedy said, adding that while other facilities he’s seen are dirty and inefficient, this one is the exact opposite. “We wanted everything to be clean.”

The surfaces are disinfected once a day and the company’s 60 employees wear white lab coats, gloves and disposable shoe covers. Behind non-descript doors is where the company grows, cures and stores marijuana. It all starts in the clone room, where clippings are taken from mature plants and put into pods to take root. They grow for two weeks before being transferred into trays and barcoded so everything is known about the plant, from when it was watered to the nutrients it received and rooms it passed through.

From start to finish, it will take an average 80 days to get products ready for patients. Each gram is sold for between $8 to $12 and flowers are hand-trimmed.

“All the competitors in Canada are shipping ground product in baggies more similar to pipe tobacco,” Kennedy said. “Shipping whole flower and whole bud in its natural form is really a differentiator and it’s what patients are used to.”

The company was licensed to distribute in April and made its first shipment of a single box this week.

Philippe Lucas, Tilray’s vice-president of patient research and services, said the next challenge will be bringing the medical community onside with medicinal marijuana.

The company is developing a program to help educate doctors about medical pot. The initiative would include continuing education credits and will be unveiled in the next couple of months.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo bluesman David Gogo releases his new single, Christine, on Oct. 30. (Photo courtesy Andrew Dodd)
Nanaimo bluesman David Gogo evokes return to good times with new single

Upcoming release ‘Christine’ among a dozen new songs written during pandemic

Premier John Horgan heads to his ride following his announcement that there will be a fall election as he speaks during a press conference in Langford in September. (Chad Hipolito/Canadian Press)
Editorial: Majority needs to work for all British Columbians

Concepts of co-operation change as we go from an NDP minority to a majority

Nanaimo RCMP are looking for a suspect who rammed a police car to escape an arrest attempt. (File photo)
Drug trafficking suspect rams police vehicle in Nanaimo and escapes arrest

Suspect still at large after fleeing from police in Harewood on Friday afternoon

Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health chief medical health officer, immunizes Victoria Schmid, Island Health’s vice-president of pandemic planning. (Submitted photo)
Island Health advising people to get a flu shot

People looking to get vaccinated should book an appointment, says Island Health

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

Freighter drags anchor towards Boulder Point Oct. 22. It came within 730 metres of the shore, according to maps from the Port of Nanaimo. (Photo submitted)
MacGregor introduces bill to address freighter anchorages along the South Coast

Concerns about the environment, noise, pollution and safety abundant

B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Harvesters participating in the extended commercial halibut season will need to land their catch in either Prince Rupert (pictured), Vancouver, or Port Hardy by Dec. 14. (File photo)
B.C.’s commercial halibut season extended three weeks

COVID-19 market disruptions at the root of DFO’s decision

Campbell River's new hospital, July 2018
Nurse diverts opiates and falsifies records at Campbell River Hospital

Nurse facing disciplinary action for moving opiates out of the hospital

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

Most Read