A new industry is about to take root in Kelowna. Valens Agritech has just received approval from the federal government to grow commercial quantities of medical marijuana at its 17,000 square foot facility.
The company expects to soon start growing about 4,800 plants to produce about 2,000 kilograms of pot annually.
“As soon as we can assure everyone we’re 100 per cent ready to go we’ll start,” said CEO Tyler Robson. “So it’s almost imminent at this point.”
The company will first produce medical marijuana products and then move into the recreational market when marijuana is legalized, likely later this year.
“We’ll produce derivatives. Initially it’ll be oils and resin type material that we’ll be using for the medicinal aspect but after that we’re looking at gums, drinks, bars those types of things,” said spokesperson Rob O’Brien.
But they’ll do more than just grow and process marijuana. Research into the health benefits of cannabis will be conducted at the facility.
“We want to bring credibility to the industry and get rid of that negative stigma for the cannabis plant. We believe it does a lot of good and we’re ready to show the world what it can do,” said Robson.
Valens Agritech expects the venture to be very lucrative saying the parent company is now worth about $7 million.
“With the license and moving forward with the capacity that we bring, we believe we’ll be worth $300 million within a year or two,” said O’Brien.
With permission to store about $6 million worth of marijuana products, there are extensive security measures in place including a vault with 12 inch concrete walls and steel reinforced floor.
There are also105 surveillance cameras indoors and out.
It’s anticipated about 50 people will work at the facility when in full production.