There is no denying that the production of medical marijuana is a growth industry. Canada is a leader in the field and soon, if all goes as planned, Pointe-Claire will be right in the thick of it.

Canadian medical marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis is poised to open a 40,000 square foot cannabis production facility on Hymus Blvd. near Alston Ave.

Aurora Cannabis is the second largest medical marijuana producer in the world, after Ontario-based Canopy Growth Corporation. There are around 38 registered medical marijuana producers in Canada.

“It’s exciting,” Aurora Cannabis executive vice-president Cam Battley said of working in the fertile medical-marijuana industry. “I have a tremendous sense of mission. Medical marijuana is proven to help relieve symptoms, manage pain and anxiety.”

Battley was born and raised in Beaconsfield and now lives in Ontario. The father of two is a Scout leader and soccer coach and describes himself as “square as can be” — far from the image of the pot-smoking hippy some folks might conjure up when the subject of marijuana is raised.

Aurora Cannabis is in the final stages of acquiring Peloton Pharma. The facility on Hymus Blvd. went into bankruptcy protection during the construction of the medical-marijuana production plant. The expansion was approved by Health Canada in 2014 and is now 80 per cent complete.

A hearing before Quebec Superior Court concerning the acquisition of the business is scheduled for later this month. If the court approves, the facility will be completed and inspected by Health Canada and production could begin as early as this summer.

Aurora Cannabis operates a 55,000 square foot facility in Mountain View County, around 100 km northwest of Calgary and is working on an 800,000 square foot facility on leased airport land near the Edmonton International Airport.

State-of-the-art security and pristine growing conditions are top priorities for large scale producers like Aurora.

Earlier this month the Canada Cannabis Association which represents 15 of the country’s largest producers voted unanimously to adopt even stricter health and safety measures. The move to upgrade standards came in the wake of two recalls from facilities (not Aurora) using banned pesticides.

The same day CCA announced its plans for stricter measures, Aurora Cannabis had already started making public test results of its product done by an independent, certified laboratory.

Obtaining a license to produce medical marijuana takes time. Aurora Cannabis applied for a license to produce in 2013. In 2015, it began production and in 2016 it began to sell. Revenues for October, November and December 2016 were $4 million.

Talk of legalizing marijuana for recreational use has been in the news ever since the federal Liberals were elected in 2015 and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau created a task force to study the issue. The possibility might one day become a reality, but in the meantime the prime minister has said that people who contravene the current drug laws should be arrested.

“I support what the government is doing (to study the use of) marijuana for recreational use,” Battley said. “Access to (recreational) marijuana has to be restricted and regulated. We need to keep the profits out of the hands of criminals.”

Source: Montreal Gazette