Cannabis capital: Metcalfe grow-op, Hydropothecary, CannaRoyalty score separate wins


Canopy Growth wasn’t the only Ottawa-area cannabis firm making headlines on Wednesday.

From Metcalfe to Gatineau to Nevada, several local pot companies were signing significant deals that are expected to generate hundreds of jobs and collectively lead to millions of dollars in revenues.

Here’s a roundup of what happened on a big day for Ottawa bud:

City council approves Metcalfe grow-op

Ottawa’s first legalized marijuana grow-op is a step closer to reality after city council gave the project the green light on Wednesday.

Artiva, a branch of Ottawa-based LiveWell Foods, wants to set up the grow-op on the site of existing vegetable greenhouses at 5130-5208 Ramsayville Rd. in Metcalfe, near the Hawthorne Industrial Park. Artiva plans to immediately begin retrofitting 57,000 square feet of greenhouse space, with the first phase of the project slated for completion in the second quarter of 2018.

Eventually, the company wants to convert about 540,000 square feet of greenhouse facilities from food to marijuana production and potentially add a second growing facility to the 100-acre site near Greely.

Artiva has already applied to Health Canada for a cannabis production licence. LiveWell co-CEO Seann Poli told OBJ last month that if the project is approved, he expects the grow-op to eventually create up to 800 jobs.

Under city guidelines approved by council in 2014, medical marijuana facilities are permitted only in industrial zones, requiring the agricultural property to be rezoned.

Selling weed by the SAQ

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Ottawa River, Gatineau-based Hydropothecary has a new major customer.

The growing cannabis producer scored the largest deal among six companies that announced they have signed letters of intent with Quebec's liquor board to supply cannabis and related products.

The companies individually announced the deals with the Crown corporation, which is overseeing marijuana sales in the province through a subsidiary when it becomes legal later this year.

Hydropothecary will provide 20,000 kilograms of cannabis products in the first year of legalized recreational cannabis use through a full range of products.

(For a 360-degree tour of Hydropothecary's existing growing facility, watch the video below).)

News of the announcement boosted the company's stock on the TSX Venture Exchange, where it gained 5.6 per cent, or 22 cents, to close at $4.18.

“It's an important order for us,” said president and CEO Sebastien St-Louis.

“It's 20 million grams. It's unlikely there has ever been an illegal sale in Canada of this magnitude.”

Canopy Growth Corp. also announced a deal to provide 12,000 kilograms of cannabis a year.

Other companies that announced deals with the Société des alcools du Québec include Aphria, MedReleaf, Aurora Cannabis and Tilray.

Quebec expects to open 15 marijuana stores across the province this summer and will control sales online.

When asked if that number of stores was sufficient, Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton said he was optimistic the province seemed to be developing a strong online sales platform.

“I would say that they appear to be one of the provinces most strong on IT and technology for delivery,” he said in a conference call. “So, if you end up being a bit light on physical, maybe you'll be outstanding on an e-commerce model.”

‘Superstore’ dispensary

Also on Wednesday, Ottawa-based marijuana investment firm CannaRoyalty said its advisory services division had secured a contract worth US$200,000 with Nevada-based cannabis firm MM Development Co., which operates under the names Planet 13 and Medizin.

Under the agreement, CannaRoyalty will provide consulting services to Planet 13 as it raises capital and opens a Planet 13 dispensary “superstore” adjacent to the Las Vegas gaming strip.

Stock image, for illustrative purposes only.

Additionally, CannaRoyalty CEO Marc Lustig and executive vice-president Greg Wilson have been invited to join Planet 13’s board of directors.

“Following adult-use recreational legalization in July 2017, Nevada has become one of the fastest-growing, most investor-friendly markets in the U.S. legal cannabis space,” Wilson said in a statement.

- With reporting by David Sali and the Canadian Press