Red Deer County is set to welcome its first commercial cannabis production facility.
STIGMA Pharmaceuticals will open later this year in the Clearview Industrial area.
The 66,000 sq.ft. facility comes as the company says it has been working with Red Deer County representatives to bring its operations to the area in a respectable, professional and safe manner, and in compliance with all criteria set out by Health Canada.
“We look forward to developing in an area with an open mindset and clear direction for this type of industry. We hope to change the “Stigma” associated and look forward to joining this community in building a business that will offer employment to many in a safe and professional environment," says Travis McIntyre, CEO. "This is an exciting up and coming industry that has an opportunity to bring many good things to our community. We are proud to be chosen as its role models.”
STIGMA received approval to operate from Red Deer County council in April 2017. Initial construction is set to get underway in May.
Planning Manager Treena Miller says there has been significant interest from others looking to open up facilities, but very few actual applications have come in.
"I average several calls a week just inquiring about what it is they need to do to move forward with something like this," she says. "It is a hot topic."
Miller confirms council amended the land use bylaw last summer following a public hearing which directed these types of facilities to industrial areas -- medium industrial where the use is permitted and business service industrial where it is discretionary.
She says applicable areas include Clearview, McKenzie, Burnt Lake, Kuusomo, Blindman and Belich.
According to StigmaGrow.ca, the facility’s services include state of the art security, appointments with onsite physicians, consultations with grow specialists, lab testing to determine THC and CBD quantities, as well as addiction counselling. The website also states that it has 104 fully automate growing spaces equipped with remote monitoring capabilities, carbon filtration systems and hydroponic tables and lights, among other things.
McIntyre says the company has also filed an application through the AGLC for a retail location in Red Deer County, but couldn't yet comment on the location. Much like Red Deer city council recently did, Red Deer County council is set to debate regulations for retail cannabis sites later this spring.
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