A cannabis company is proposing to build a production facility in Clearwater County.
Element GP Inc. has submitted an application to rezone 40 acres of agricultural land to light industrial on a quarter section along Hwy 22 about 15 km south of Caroline. Element has applied to Health Canada to become a licensed producer of medical cannabis, says a planning report to county council.
If approved, construction would begin on the 55,000-square-foot next year for a fall completion, says the company’s proposal. The plant would employ about 200 involved in overseeing 11,000 plants that would generate about $150 million in annual sales.
High-tech odour control and security systems will be in place and power will be drawn from the nearby Shell Caroline gas plant.
County council gave the rezoning application first reading last week and a public hearing date is to be announced.
Like many municipalities, Clearwater County recently updated its planning regulations in anticipation of cannabis production applications.
The Land Use Bylaw restricts the facilities to business parks and industrial-zoned areas, a recognition that cannabis production is not your usual agricultural endeavour. All marijuana applications are discretionary, meaning they must get approval from the county’s municipal planning commission.
The bylaw states that cannabis production facilities should be directed towards business parks. However, locating them in other industrial areas is allowed on certain conditions.
Proponents must show that an isolated location is required and that the facility is appropriate for the area and compatible with nearby land uses, among other conditions.