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Grand Valley Clears Cannabis Grower for Retail Sales


Grand Valley may be getting more than one cannabis retailer. That said, this could be different from the others now operating in Dufferin County. 

This prospective retailer currently grows marijuana on-site.

On June 22, 2021, Grand Valley’s Planner Mark Kluge re-presented a report advising the town’s council of the latest revisions to the site plan request by CanWe Growers Inc. for its Highway 89 medical marijuana facility that was approved back in 2018. Council accepted further revisions in 2020 to reflect what was actually built. The current set of changes allows for outdoor growing and a potential cannabis retail sales establishment. All modifications are subject to the consent of the relevant regulatory agencies, primarily Health Canada. However, approval from the municipality is needed first. Kluge initially introduced the report to council on May 25, 2021. However, they sent it back to staff to gather input from nearby residents and address concerns from the fire department. 

The application’s cover letter dated March 19, 2021, notes that the revised site plan allows for two temporary hoop houses for trialling outdoor cannabis growing and six possible permanent hoop houses for future use. Until now, growing at CanWe had been restricted to the inside of two Quonset huts. Moreover, CanWe Growers would continue its planned phased-in approach of building the primary permanent facility, which was permitted after an amendment to their original site plan request in 2019. The facility is currently in its first phase of operation. According to the cover letter, the current size of the main building is 635 square metres, with the smaller hut being 203 square metres. The planned footprint is 4,841 square metres in total. Furthermore, CanWe’s site plan displays a potential retail sales facility and less space dedicated to parking. Grand Valley’s planner states that the revisions reflect changing market forces and licensing requirements of the federal government. 

“I specifically asked if they ever intended to sell off of this property, retail, and he said no at that time,” asserted Councillor Rick Taylor at the May 25 council meeting. “They’re changing their intent and I think that the public around there should be aware.”

Health Canada records show that CanWe Growers Inc. is licensed for the cultivation and processing of cannabis. Moreover, it is allowed to sell plants and seeds to provincially authorized retailers and distributors. Those who require cannabis for medical purposes and are sanctioned by a healthcare professional can also buy from CanWe. Both Ontario and Health Canada now permit the licensed retail sale of marijuana on the same site as outdoor growing operations, a practice termed ‘farm gate sales.’ The Canadian Press reported how Thrive Cannabis’s Simcoe County farm was the first to do so.

At the May 25 meeting, Grand Valley’s Deputy Mayor Philip Rentsch asked whether CanWe was sticking with its original idea of growing medical marijuana or if it was now switching to recreational.

“This business tends to be very fluid,” answered Kluge. “I believe they’re trying to capture the recreational market.”

The parent company of CanWe Growers, New Maple, did not respond to Dufferin News inquiry to see if they would be applying for a cannabis retail operator license. If one is not obtained, sales would be limited to medical clients as permitted under their federal license. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario database does not show that a retail license has been applied for at the CanWe address. The application would likely not be filed until after the structure was built. 

Rentsch stated how CanWe was first planned to be a medical marijuana facility and that very little traffic was associated.

“That was sort of the understanding of what we were working with,” said Rentsch, who had concerns on whether neighbouring residents had enough input. “A retail store and recreational maybe just changes the conversation a little bit.”

Kluge’s June 22 report to Grand Valley council pronounced that the issues raised by the fire chief had been addressed and included resident concerns focused on water consumption, noise, and parking. Council was not satisfied with the answers provided to the residents, mainly around how water consumption was monitored and whether the facility has moved off power supplied by generators. Although asking for more information on these items, council approved the site plan subject to confirmation of the engineer’s comments being incorporated.

“We should be supporting business,” said Councillor Steve Miles at the May 25 meeting. “And this is business.”

Dufferin News previously reported that a retailer, currently operating in Shelburne, applied for a license in Grand Valley. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario database shows that it is still progressing through the stages, with the public notice period ending earlier this month.

References – Grand Valley Clears Cannabis Grower for Retail Sales

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