Medical Marijuana Producer Applauds Legalization Legislation

A local business is looking to capitalize on a move to legalize marijuana in Canada.

The Liberal government introduced legislation Thursday to make the use of recreational cannabis legal by July 1, 2018.

The government will allow regulated marijuana dispensaries and grow houses to produce and distribute the drug for recreational purposes.

Aphria, a Leamington-based medical marijuana producer, says it plans on expanding its operation to produce recreational marijuana. 

CEO Vic Neufeld says the company has prepared a four-part expansion process, after just completing part two of the plan. "Once Health Canada has approved it, we will be capable of producing 8,000 kilos per year. Our part three, which is well under way, and expected completion is October followed by the Health Canada site inspection. That will increase our annual harvest to about 23,000 kilos."

Neufeld says the company is also investing heavily into automated technology, but will be hiring more people ""Our labour force is probably going to cap out at about 400 when it is all said and done. Today we are at about 120. It is still a significant influx of jobs especially in Leamington and Essex County."

He says he is looking to make Aphria the undisputed leader of cannabis production in the region by 2018.