Corrections: This article initially contained errors regarding the construction of H2 Biopharma’s facility in Lachute. The company has not yet acquired land from Lachute or begun construction, and is still in the process of applying for a license from Health Canada. The facility could be built by summer, 2017. The article also initially misstated the name of the company. The Review apologizes for the errors.
Medical marijuana is a growing industry in Canada. There are currently 36 licensed medical marijuana facilities in the country, including 21 in Ontario. Two new facilities are expected to be opening in Lachute, one as early as next summer. Quebec currently has only one licensed facility, owned and operated by Gatineau-based Hydropothecary.
After the city began the consultation process to rezone a section of the city for specific use by medical marijuana facilities, Lachute Mayor Carl Péloquin told The Review it received dozens of inquiries from interested companies. “I thought that it would be good to be ready and to have the right zoning, since it’s now considered an acceptable therapy,” said Péloquin.
Council initially looked at the possibility of rezoning an industrial sector on Cristini Boulevard, but rejected the plan after nearly a dozen of the existing industries objected.
After evaluating their options, Péloquin said council chose to begin the consultation process to rezone the area surrounding the Régie Intermunicipale Argenteuil Deux-Montagnes garbage dump, which is located on Chemin des Sources. In 2006, Lachute expropriated land surrounding the dump. This was done to meet environmental standards and to ensure that no citizens would be disrupted by the dump.
The city is currently in negotiations with a company called H2 Biopharma. Once a land deal is finalized, H2 Biopharma expects to break ground on a new, 48,000-square-foot building, according to company CEO Andre Jerome. Péloquin compared the planned new facility to a bunker, with heavy security. The facility would be built with room to expand, on a 1.8-million square foot property. Construction could be completed by next summer.
The company is applying for a license from Health Canada. It could only receive final approval after an inspection of the new facility, which is expected to employ about 50 people at its Lachute location.
A second marijuana growing facility is expected to open adjacent to H2 Biopharma sometime in 2018. Péloquin said that at this point he will not name the company, which is expected to employ a few dozen people. He said that the second structure will be smaller in size.
Under Health Canada’s “Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR),” only producers who are authorized to produce and sell to the public, may sell or provide dried marijuana, fresh marijuana, cannabis oil, or starting materials to eligible persons. Eligible persons are defined as those who have received a prescription for marijuana from a licensed medical doctor.
Péloquin said during the consultation process there were no objections to the two facilities to be constructed on Chemin des Sources.
When The Review asked its Facebook audience what they thought of having a legal marijuana facility in their neighbourhood, the response was positive. Rob Parker said that he is in favour of this type of facility. “How is it that no one asked me if I wanted a pharmacy in my community? They have far worse products than a licensed medical marijuana facility,” he wrote.