The Town of Espanola could soon be host to Northern Ontario's second commercial cannabis growing operation by the spring of 2020.
Sudbury-based GaiaCann Inc. is out to make a global name for itself in the medical marijuana business with a sizeable and scalable development in the northeastern Ontario paper mill town, 40 minutes west of Sudbury.
Their ambitious expansion plans over the next two to three years are already underway with construction started on a first-phase cultivation and extraction facility, located in the southeast corner of the community.
Founded last year by Jeff Scharf of Lively, the company also announced in late June it had signed a letter of intent to be acquired by ONEnergy Inc. of Toronto, a leading North American supplier of renewable energy systems.
Scharf was not made available for an interview, but in a statement said: "We are beyond excited to have entered into a strategic relationship with ONEnergy. They have been such a valuable addition to our growing team, and we would like to thank them for their dedication and patience throughout this process."
Scharf said his team has "aggressive expansion plans" and believes ONEnergy can help them reach a "new level of scientific growth" in the cannabis industry.
GaiaCann has a lofty goal to be a globally innovative "driving force" on the leading edge of new "plant-to-pharmacy" drug discoveries.
According to GaiaCann's news release and investor information posted on the company's website, their proposed first-stage 32,000-squarefoot facility at 37 Panache Lake Road, dubbed "The Innovation Project," will be its flagship operation when fully licensed and ready to go by March 2020. Production capacity will be 2,750 kilograms.
That will be followed by a larger, adjoining 100,000-square-foot facility, "The Greenhouse Project," capable of producing 9,000 kilograms annually.
Construction on the second site would take place in 2020 with that facility operational by 2021.
A third leg of expansion would take place across town on a Queensway Avenue property.
The company anticipates total revenue of $149 million in its first year of operations and creating more than 100 full-time jobs between Espanola and a research lab in Sudbury.
To finance all this, GaiaCann plans to raise $20 million through debt and equity, as well as seek a publicly traded listing.
Already on their minds is international expansion.
In its investor presentation, GaiaCann is hinting at taking their proprietary...