The former Spudco factory located in Lucky Lake looks like it will be turned into a marijuana factory.
United Greeneries purchased the abandoned 62,000 square foot building from the government of Saskatchewan three years ago, after the province failed at an attempt to develop a provincial potato industry.
Colin Clancey, a spokesperson for United Greeneries, when reached for comment on Vancouver Island, said they made the purchase after an opportunity arose.
"That [facility] came available on the auction," he said. "It was an ideal property and building infrastructure essentially for marijuana production, so Andreas Gedeon our CEO thought it was a very good purchase at the time."
The British Columbia-based company applied to Health Canada for an Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations license in 2015 and could receive the go-ahead from the federal government as early as this fall.
"We're down to the final stages of that right now," Clancey said. "We need to build out the facility and then Health Canada will inspect the facility and push us through to the last stages of the licencing."
"You never know with Health Canada, there are so many different things you need to do, but we've done it before already... We anticipate Health Canada will look favourably on the application."
Currently the cannabis company is looking over designs, but said they're going to use the four bays (about 40,000 square feet) and create at least two levels to make about 80,000 square feet of cultivation area, undertaking renovations and constuction that could cost up to $15 million.
"We were initially thinking vertical grows, just one level sort of thing," Clancey said Friday morning. "The more we looked into it, we decided we're going to do a modular build on two different levels."
Clancey said he's unsure of how many employees will be needed to staff the plant once up and running.
"From a construction standpoint we're definitely going to have quite a few people on site over the next year to build out the 80,000 square feet," he said. "Moving forward once we're in full production, I don't have those numbers yet, but it will be a considerable amount of people."
The hope is to produce 12,000 kg of dried marijuana each year, with some of it staying in the province and some to be exported.
"Obviously we'd like to have some sort of an arrangement in Saskatchewan, which would make sense," he said. "The Saskatchewan government has put out fairly favourable regulations, so we'd like to have some of the product there and maybe B.C. and across the country."
Clancey said they will wait and see how the recreational cannabis framework rolls out this year, then they will make their decision on where the product will go.
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