Proposed marijuana production facility for Parksville waits for federal government direction

Wildflower Marijuana reached a deal with the City of Parksville and put a deposit on some land

Wildflower Marijuana is still “optimistic” about moving into Parksville’s industrial park, but the company’s corporate development director Doug Kerr said they’re waiting for direction from the newly-elected Liberal government that promised to legalize, regulate and restrict access to pot.

“Everything is stuck in the queue,” Kerr told The NEWS Friday morning.

He said during the federal election, Health Canada “didn’t bother to further any applications… including ours.”

Wildflower Marijuana committed a $20,000 non-refundable deposit to the City of Parksville early last year securing a piece of city-owned land in the industrial park where Wildflower’s facility is slated to go if they get a green light from Health Canada and city council. Wildflower submitted a Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) application to Health Canada more than one year ago.

Right now, Kerr said “it’s too early to tell” how the government will move forward with new legislation which will undoubtedly shape how Wildflower develops in Parksville.

“I’m sure they are trying to work their way through how they will roll out recreational marijuana across Canada. Whether they will go with the MMPR program or change that and go back to the old MMAR (Marihuana Medical Access Regulations) program, nobody knows,” he said. “Right now, the feds aren’t saying anything.”

Kerr said in three months the company will have a better understanding of how federal regulations will affect their Parksville project.

“Parksville wants us there and we’d love to be there,” he said. “We’re optimistic.”

Meanwhile, Kerr said Wildflower has been launching products in the United States where marijuana has been legalized in some states.

“We couldn’t wait forever for Health Canada,” he said. “There’s no revenue in waiting.”

Kerr said Wildflower has partnered with a processor out of Washington state and the company hopes to replicate their successes south of the border in Canada.

Parksville Mayor Marc Lefebvre has historically supported Wildflower’s interest in setting up a medical marijuana facility in Parksville, largely for the economic potential.

The company hopes to create 50 to 70 jobs in the city on top of spending millions on improvements.

“If it becomes a federal law, we’re a country of laws and the City of Parksville would respect those laws,” Lefebvre told The NEWS shortly after the election. “The name of the game is to be able to tax it and get it out of the hands of illegal organizations that are growing it.”

Asked if he’s ever smoked marijuana, Lefebvre admitted he’s tried it in the past.

“There was a time many many many many years ago when I tried it and I did inhale and it didn’t do a thing for me. Mind you I was the father of two young babies so I wasn’t too interested but I had a very good friend who told me it was supposed to be the best, so I tried it,” he said. “Unlike Clinton I did inhale, but it didn’t do a thing for me.”

The MMPR came into force in June 2013. The regulations create conditions for a commercial industry that is responsible for the production and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes. They also make sure that Canadians with a medical need can access quality controlled marijuana grown under secure and sanitary conditions.

The MMAR were repealed on March 31, 2014. However, as a result of a Federal Court Order granted on March 21, 2014, individuals who were previously authorized to possess and produce marijuana under the MMAR, and who meet the terms of the Federal Court order, will be able to continue to do so on an interim basis until the Court reaches a final decision.  As ordered by the Court, individuals with an Authorization to Possess valid on March 21, 2014, may hold a maximum quantity of dried marijuana as specified by their Authorization to Possess or

150 grams, whichever is less.

— With files from Auren Ruvinsky