From a business perspective, it seemed like a no-brainer.
But for Evan Price, getting involved in the medical marijuana production industry wasn’t entirely about growing his bottom line.
“Far too many family members and neighbours in this area are coming down with harsh (medical) diagnoses,” the Valley resident and businessman said.
After losing an uncle to cancer and seeing others suffer, Price said his interest in medical marijuana was piqued when Health Canada announced in late 2013 that it was in the process of creating a $1.6 billion cannabis industry.
“And I’m sitting on the sidelines saying I know there are some options, that if this was more readily available, they would be more affordable to them or they could have a better treatment and life,” he said. “And the only way you get around that, is you jump in.”
So jump in he did.
Price, who has developed other successful enterprises involving hops and fiddleheads, put together a business plan and formed a team of medical, security, construction and pharmaceutical experts, as well as someone with decades of experience in growing medical marijuana. He brought on private investors and local entrepreneurs with expertise in financial management and eventually the Truro Herbal Company (THC) was formed.
“I think we’ve been very careful about picking the investors we have so that they agree on both fronts,” he said, of both business aspects of the operations and medical benefits.
“It is a good financial opportunity because we are taking a large portion of the black market and legitimizing it,” he said. “I mean the world is waking up to legalized cannabis, or medical cannabis, at the very least.”
The company has now cleared all but the final stage of the approval process and construction is under way in the Truro Business Park on a modern 20,000-sq.-ft. cannabis production facility. Following completion, a routine inspection by Health Canada is the final step toward the facility becoming a licensed producer of medical marijuana.
Construction is expected to be complete by early 2018 and Price anticipates the first crop of medical marijuana will be available between February and March.
One of the key differences between THC and some of the other producers that will be coming on stream, Price said, is it will also be licensed for product development.
“We’re not just going to be a producer of dried cannabis facility. We actually have a quite extensive research and development lab in there for quality assurance,” he said.
And that factor makes the venture especially exciting for Emily McDade, THC’s assistant director of Quality Assurance.
“There has to be a better way than just giving a pill bottle,” she said, of the prospect of medical marijuana replacing high-priced and sometimes debilitating pharmaceutical drugs to treat any variety of illnesses.
“There has to be something else that allows you to have that quality of life back as well as combat any sort of illnesses that you face,” she said.
“There is something that we need to explore that I think is really going to return a lot of life to people. And once that stigma is gone, I think we’re going to be in much better shape overall as people and enjoying our life a lot more.”
Price said everyone involved is eager to reach the production and operation stage to prove THC is all it promises to be.
“Were excited for 2018. The Truro Herbal Company is going to be putting its mark on the cannabis industry and we really look forward to building a strong team,” he said.