More cannabis jobs to come to Kelowna

A new research facility coming to Kelowna will create 200 job opportunities

A new cannabis facility in Kelowna will have a positive impact on Lake Country residents, says the mayor of Lake Country.

The Flowr Corporation and Hawthorne Canada Limited, a subsidiary of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, broke ground to celebrate the construction of a 50,000 square foot facility to conduct research and development activities on all aspects of growing cannabis Thursday.

The facility will be adjacent to Flowr’s cultivation facility in Kelowna on McCarthy Road. In total, the two facilities are expected to create upwards of 200 jobs in the region.

“The fact that it was in the City of Kelowna, we didn’t have a lot to do with it…. any economic improvement in the Central Okanagan is a plus for us too because if there are 200 people working there, some of them will probably live in Lake Country,” said Mayor James Baker. “People work at the plants on Bailey Road which is more the industrial area in Kelowna and a number of them live in Lake Country will probably be the case.”

In March 2018, The Flowr Corporation announced that it had formed an exclusive strategic research and development alliance. This alliance makes Flowr one of only three licensed producers with such relationships with publicly traded U.S. company. Hawthorne selected Flowr based on the technical expertise of Flowr’s design, build and cultivation team under the direction of company Co-Founder, Tom Flow. Flow and his team founded and built MedReleaf under the ACMPR, which was recently sold to Aurora for $3.2 billion.

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Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick took the stand to share his personal story with medical cannabis 30 years ago when his friend was in the hospital.

“I remember 30 years ago sitting in the hospital room next to a friend of mine who was dying from cancer and to alleviate the pain he was smoking a joint… All he knew was that he was getting some kind of benefit,” said Letnick. “I am hyped with what is going to happen here, not only in terms of research for crops.. But also the partnership with UBC to make sure we have proper, peer reviewed medically substantiated research that we can use.”

The facility will include laboratories, indoor and greenhouse grow suites, training areas and genetics breeding areas in a single building. Flowr expects to develop and test Hawthorne cultivation systems such as lights and fertilization and irrigation systems in the facility. Flowr will also research genetics and cultivation data analytic systems in the facility.

RELATED: Condo boards should set out rules before cannabis legalization: lawyers

A partnership with UBC Okanagan campus will allow students to use equipment purchased during the hours it will be unused and the employees in turn will also be allowed to utilize the equipment on campus when students are not using it.

“We need to buy genetics machinery, we shouldn’t be the only ones using it,” said Dr. Lyle Oberg chief policy and medical officer for Flowr Corporation. “A ton of careers going to be occurring in cannabis and want to make sure some of those students come and work for us. We want the best and brightest and that is the way that our industry is going to succeed for the next 30 to 40 years, now it is out in the open and we want to make some scientific advances as quickly as we can.”

The construction is expected to be completed in summer next year. Recreational cannabis will be legalized Oct. 17.

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