Prince Albert city council has unanimously approved the development permit for a medical cannabis production facility at North Industrial Park. There was no debate about the matter at Monday’s night council meeting with councillors praising the quality of the people behind the proposal and the jobs it will bring.
NuvoMedic Canna Consulting said the operation could employ up to 60 people and would be ready for production within one to two years.
“The fastest it could ever happen is a year from now,” Company President Jamie Novotny told paNOW after the council meeting. "[But] we look at one and a half to two years, which is normal through this licensing system.”
The city approved the $15-million-project subject to the company securing a license from the federal government. It would be located at the old P.A. Bottlers facility at 85-11th St. NW.
Novotny couldn’t yet reveal if he would be purchasing that site or leasing it, nor was he in a position to discuss who his group of investors were. However, he said he and his wife, Roni, had worked for years toward creating a local production facility which would be undertaken in two phases: cultivation, followed by production.
“It will be exclusively for medical use,” he said. “We will be doing straight-to-client services with client care and we’ve already built a whole program over the last two years for that facility.”
The federal medical cannabis program currently offers product to clients by mail, according to Novotny.
At a time when most of the Canadian public's attention is focused on recreational marijuana and locally we've seen two retail outlets open in the city, Novotny is very much the medical advocate.
"Over three years ago, I saved my own life [with cannabis]. I have primary progressive MS and Crohn's disease, and six pulmonary nodules that they found in my lung," he said. "I started treating myself and I had studied things for five years."
Novotny studied production and facility management, marketing and drug development at university.
Asked about odour issues from the industrial location, Novotny said that would be minimal and the security measures he would have in place would exceed federal standards.
Members of council were in total support of the project.
“I was leery before I met him but it’s a good development,” Dennis Ogrodnick said during the meeting. “I totally agree we need to get into this and have safe options for people’s medical needs.”
Fellow councillor Blake Edwards said he supported the endeavour because it was “not a fly-by-night” project and featured “local and knowledgeable people.”
Mayor Greg Dionne explained the approval for the development was straight forward because “it’s zoned for heavy industrial, it’s a credible group who brought it forward, and it’s legal.”
Novotny didn’t seem surprised about the ease with which his idea was given the political go-ahead.
“I was ready for any questions as I’ve been doing this for a long time throughout the industry,” he said. “I had five councillors meet with me one-on-one and we went over everything prior to this.”
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