The end of a long regulatory process is finally in sight for North Battleford-based Envirosafe Chemicals Canada.
The company announced Tuesday they have been pre-approved by Health Canada to build a cannabis cultivation and processing facility in the city. The facility will be located at their current headquarters on 10011 Thatcher Ave. in the Parsons Industrial Park area of North Battleford.
The company received that notification on Sept. 11. Upon completion, Envirosafe will also submit a site evidence package to demonstrate the site meets all requirements of the cannabis regulations for final inspection, at which point they anticipate being awarded a cannabis licence.
Envirosafe has also been awarded an Industrial Hemp Standard Processing License from Health Canada, pursuant to the Cannabis Act, effective Aug. 23, 2019. This license is necessary for Envirosafe to be able to process and manufacture products and derivatives from locally grown industrial hemp.
In speaking to the News-Optimist Wednesday, president and CEO James R. (Jim) Davey was excited about the approvals.
â€śWeâ€™ve come down the road two and a half years,â€ť said Davey about the long process it has taken to get the approvals.
Davey called the process â€śnot for the faint of heart.â€ťÂ
â€śFinally after all this time we get the green light to go,â€ť said Davey, noting the â€śmassive paperworkâ€ť involved in cutting through the regulatory hoops.
While going through those hoops was described as a â€śnightmareâ€ť for Davey and his staff, the process also weeded out other players who werenâ€™t capable of doing all of what was required by the federal government.Â
With the hemp licence, Envirosafeâ€™s intention is have a qualified grower in North Battleford start growing hemp next spring. Envirosafeâ€™s license allows them to produce hemp oil using the flowing heads, leaves and branches of the hemp plant.
But this particular licence does not cover CBD oil (cannabidiol) with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).Â
â€śDonâ€™t confuse CBD oil with hemp oil,â€ť said Davey. â€śCBD oil has THC oil in it. We are going to produce a medicinal hemp oil THC-free, for those people who want to correct cancers or their asthma or whatever problem they have, and donâ€™t want to get a lift from it â€“ high.â€ť
The pre-approval for the cannabis facility means Davey can proceed with his plans to expand Envirosafeâ€™s current building.
Envirosafe already has an 8,000 square feet facility, but the plan is to build an extra 22,000 square feet to the south of the existing structure to produce hemp oil and cannabis oil. Davey said the company is gathering quotes right now and hopes to have footings in this fall. They hope the entire build will be finished by spring.Â Â
Once the building is inspected, licensing is the next step. â€śYour have to verify that you have your building intact and your security in place, to code, which takes us to the next step which means licensing,â€ť Davey said.
Once they receive their cannabis license, Envirosafe will then be fully licensed to also produce CBD oil with THC, along with the hemp oil.
Once up and running Envirosafe expects to do four grows a year in the 30,000 square feet space. Staffing is expected to be between 36 to 100 jobs.
There are also plans to add a second 30,000 square feet building next door in what would be phase two of construction, which Davey expects will add even more jobs.
Envirosafe had also been one of the two companies that were awarded retail cannabis licenses in North Battleford by the province last year. But their foray into retail was brief, as they sold the store to Fire and Flower Inc. just one day after its grand opening.
Davey said his company does retain shares in Fire and Flower and plans to distribute his products â€“ oils, extracts and pills â€“ through Fire and Flowerâ€™s stores across Canada. Envirosafeâ€™s product line is marketed under the name Curativa Cannabis.
Fire and Flower currently has 39 stores and Davey says there are plans to expand to 171 across Canada. â€śThey will be the leader in the marketing of cannabis,â€ť Davey said.
Ultimately, Davey sees a lot of potential in the cannabis market, particularly in oil and medicinal products.
â€śWe want to help people,â€ť said Davey. â€śWe will do the recreational stuff as well, but our main focus is on health, to better peopleâ€™s health, to help cancer, help Alzheimerâ€™s, help pain. Itâ€™s the way of the future for sure.â€ťÂ Â Â Â