P.E.I. marijuana company to grow expansion to $35 million

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Facility plans to produce 25 to 30 times more cannabis, create up to 200 jobs.

Canada's Island Garden in Charlottetown is growing its business by more than it originally planned. The P.E.I. marijuana grower is building a new greenhouse and warehouse, at a cost of $35 million.

"It's a very exciting day for me today," said Edwin Jewell, the company's president and CEO.

"I'm very pleased and very proud to think that what started out as an idea just a few years ago has turned into a successful company."

New capital

The project is much larger than what was originally planned. In January, the company announced an expansion worth $20 to $25 million. 

Edwin Jewell made the announcement near the construction site.

But a new investor has given the company the capital it needs for a bigger expansion. In February, Alliance One International Inc., based in North Carolina, announced its subsidiary Canadian Cultivated Products acquired a 75 per cent equity position in Canada's Island Garden.

They're making a substantial commitment to our company and to P.E.I. by doing their expansion here.— Edwin Jewell

"I still own a significant part of the company so I still have some say," Jewell said. "They're making a substantial commitment to our company and to P.E.I. by doing their expansion here, so we're obviously encouraged by that."

The additional capital will also accelerate construction which was originally expected to take 3 years.

Edwin Jewell stands in nursery room of medicinal marijuana plants.

When it's up and running, the facility will produce 25 to 30 times more cannabis than now. That translates into 25,000 to 30,000 kilograms of cannabis a year that will be sold on the Island as well as nationally and internationally.

"As we mature, we will be a contender in the cannabis market in Canada," Jewell said.

Very rewarding

Jewell predicts the staff could grow from 20 now to as many as 200 when the new facility is completed.

There are currently 20 employees at Canada's Island Garden and that could grow to 200 with the expansion.

"For me it's very rewarding and it's probably one of the things that I take the most pride in," Jewell said. "We always say that we want people to be able to stay here on P.E.I. and find year round meaningful work and that's what we've done here."

Jewell also announced a new brand of marijuana that the company will be producing. It's called "Figr".

Work has already started on the $35 million expansion at Canada's Island Garden.

"'Go figure' is kind of an Island expression," Jewell said. "It's just a word that we thought we could have a little bit of fun with."

Jewell hopes to have cannabis in production at the new facility by late summer of 2019.

"Once we get the approval from Health Canada that the building is good to go, we would hopefully 8 or 10 weeks after that time, be good to go," Jewell said. "By August or September of next year, we would have cannabis coming out of our new facility."

He said the second phase of the expansion should be completed in 2020.

The expanded facility will produce 25 to 30 times more cannabis. That translates into 25,000 to 30,000 kilograms.

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