Tembec Inc’s former hardwood flooring plant in Huntsville is being turned into a medical marijuana facility. The company MuskokaPharma Inc. announced today that they had signed a purchase agreement with Tembec Inc. to repurpose the plant, which is located on 10 acres of land at 73 Old North Road.

It will turn into a production facility to grow pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis under Health Canada’s Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR).

“We have submitted our application to Health Canada and expect the review process will take 6 months or more, before we receive a Notice to Build,” said President Ian Ross.

The cannabis production facility will have a high level of security, approved by the RCMP and the OPP, including a 3m high perimeter fence, topped with barbed wire and buried 1m below ground with imbedded weather-sensitive motion detectors. There will be over 200 motion controlled HD video cameras inside and outside the facility, including in the growth chambers that will record all activities on the site. Everyone, including all staff and visitors, must pass through three levels of security similar to airport screening to gain access to the building through a single entrance portal.

“We plan on growing the business in three phases,” said Vice President Allan Holman. “Once we are fully operational our total production area, after an addition to the building, will be over 112,000ft2.”

Ross indicated that, “MuskokaPharma will be installing state-of-the-art biosecure growth chambers and drying rooms that are used extensively in the pharmaceutical industry worldwide. Each room is computer controlled and will have sophisticated water-cooled colour temperature controlled LED lighting that is being developed by the Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility (CESRF) at the University of Guelph.

The CESRF has been instrumental in developing plant-based growing technologies in outer space with NASA and the

Canadian Space Agency. As far as any odour of marijuana goes, MuskokaPharma will scrub all of the exhaust air through specially-designed HEPA filters combined with activated carbon filters to prevent any odour of marijuana escaping from the building.

“During the build-up in Phase 1,” added Holman, “we’ll be hiring approximately thirty people, in addition to dozens of construction workers to build and set up the facility. Several positions require highly skilled individuals, the majority of which will come from the local community. We expect to double our staff component when we implement Phase 2, and quadruple our staff in Phase 3. All of this employment will add significantly to the local tax base.”

Letters have been delivered to Mayor Scott Aitchison and Council of the Town of Huntsville; Fire Chief, Stephen Hernen of the Huntsville Fire Department, and to Staff Sergeant John Graham, Commander of the Huntsville OPP Detachment, informing them of MuskokaPharma’s intentions to build a medical cannabis facility in the former Tembec flooring plant.

MuskokaPharma’s says its endeavour will be a growing and ongoing source of employment and its products will assist patients and clients in controlling certain symptoms of ailments and illnesses from mild to extreme. The company will be guided by good business practices and will have a positive impact within the local community.