Cobourg’s Cannabis Facility needs a lot of Hydro

A press release today provided some more information on Cobourg’s Cannabis factory.  The operating  company is FV Pharma but it is getting $55M of finance from Auxly Cannabis Group – formerly called Cannabis Wheaton Income Corp. (they get paid by getting 49.9% of the output) – so it’s really a joint venture.  FV Pharma still plans to be the “largest hydroponic indoor cannabis facility in the world” and in May they named  Belleville based Cornerstone Builders Ltd as the construction contractor for the first phase. They still expect the “first phase of construction to be complete and ready for Health Canada approval by the end of December 2018”.  But they also announced some changes: the facility will now include “a research and development lab focused on advancements in LED lighting, nutrient testing, breeding and genetics research. The first phase will also contain a dedicated space for large-scale extraction capabilities.”

Lakefront Utilities Office on Division St.
Lakefront Utilities Office on Division St.

Chuck Rifici, Chairman and CEO of Auxly said that “cultivating cannabis requires a significant amount of energy in order to ensure proper growing conditions and this is one of the main contributors to overall operations costs.”  Translation: Cobourg’s LUSI needs to make sure they can supply a lot of electricity to them and FV Pharma needs to find ways to minimize consumption.

Therefore, Auxly has announced that FV Pharma will “implement several technological advancements in order to increase energy efficiency and post-harvest process automation. These advancements are anticipated to benefit the environment and the community of Cobourg through less demand on the local electricity grid and will reduce operating expenses to the Company.”  You can bet that LUSI is talking to them.

Thomas Fairfull, President and CEO of FV Pharma said: “We remain confident that FV Pharma’s joint venture with Auxly will be an industry-leading indoor producer of cannabis and we look forward to developing the various stages of this project as we enter into the era of legalization of recreational cannabis.”  They have a licence for medical marijuana but with recreational pot now legalised starting October, they will no doubt need a new licence.

In a previous update, it was reported that FV Pharma will hire up to 200 people over the next 12 months.  To be the biggest plant in the world would mean they will have to build on the vacant Kraft property land and no doubt the Hydro provisioning will have to be upgraded at some point.


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Deborah OConnor
4 July 2018 1:32 pm

Hearing about the need for lots of hydro I can’t help but think of how well outside marijuana plants grow around Northumberland County with no demand for extra hydro at all. Lots of sunshine and regular watering are all they need to grow as high as ten feet tall. And ground hog control is needed as well!

This old girl is already mourning the demise of illegal marijuana as we see this lovely and beneficial plant turned into a “product”, neatly packaged and sold in government stores. Just won’t be the same.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Deborah OConnor
4 July 2018 2:58 pm

i know the feeling, unfortunately, indoor production in all seasons produces more of the fine inhalent than a single season grow period outdoors.

Reply to  Deborah OConnor
5 July 2018 10:43 am

Can always cultivate your own…it’s only a matter of time before small niche growers – we’ll call them craft-abis growers – become fashionable. We are seeing that with craft and micro breweries now. Granted that took a very long time…

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ewok
11 July 2018 10:37 am

There have always been niche growers. Panama Red, Acapulco Gold, Manhattan Silver, Thai Sticks, Lebanese black, Afghani Blonde, etc, are old niche brands. Canadian biker gangs developed Cdn brands, some well known in Amsterdam cafes.

4 July 2018 12:16 pm

I was told that this company has a provision under a farming type business so they dont have to abide with minimum wage. Humm interesting

Reply to  Jade
5 July 2018 10:40 am

Jade – I would suggest this is a rumour. No way would this fly in the Province of Ontario … In addition, I believe you would see Unifor (UFCW) or some other union looking to certify the employees should they attempt anything remotely close to that. Publically traded Canadian company – way too much to lose with a poor public profile.

Fact Checker
Reply to  Ewok
11 July 2018 10:45 am

Ewok, Still looking forward to your announcement that you are running for Mayor. On topic, the following may help: The site indicates in part: Most agricultural workers do not have the same rights to minimum hours of work and wages as other workers in Ontario. The Ministry of Labour defines four categories of agricultural workers: Farm workers – a person employed on a farm whose primary work is the production of certain agricultural products, such as milk, eggs, grain, seeds, fruit, vegetables, maple products, honey, tobacco, pigs, cattle, sheep, or poultry. Harvesters – a special category of farm worker employed on a farm to harvest fruit, vegetables or tobacco. Farm workers If you are considered a farm worker, normally your employer can pay you below minimum wage and does not have to pay you overtime. You do not necessarily get paid for time-off on public holidays, and there are no rules about the maximum number of hours you are allowed to work. However, your employer must allow you to take pregnancy and parental leave. You are also entitled to personal emergency leave, notice of termination / termination pay, and severance pay. Harvesters Minimum wage If you harvest fruit, vegetables or tobacco, you are entitled to a minimum wage. Your employer has to pay you at least $14.00 per hour. If your employer pays you based on the amount you harvest, they are required to pay you an amount per item so that through reasonable effort you should be able to harvest enough in one hour to earn $14.00. Hours of work Harvesters are allowed vacation pay, pay for public holidays, personal emergency leave, pregnancy and parental leave, notice of termination / termination pay, severance pay, and other minimum standards of the Employment Standards Act. Harvesters, however, are not covered… Read more »

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Fact Checker
11 July 2018 9:50 pm

Fact Checker posted, “Student harvesters (Wally’s favourites)

A fake fact.

Wally Keeler
3 July 2018 3:49 pm

More power to them.

Walter L. Luedtke
Reply to  Wally Keeler
3 July 2018 10:08 pm

Maybe in time there will be a marijuana belt from Castleton to Centreton and beyond.
Just as there was a tobacco belt in years gone by.
Many students used to earn good money tending and harvesting tobacco.
At my old high school in Brighton, we would soft pedal teaching in the first two weeks in September until the kids came back ‘from tobacco’.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
4 July 2018 1:31 pm

I did summer suckering in those tobacco fields, but there will be no pot belt because good controlled pot is better grown in a 100% controlled environment, not outside where the tobacco once grew.

Rusty Brown
Reply to  Wally Keeler
10 July 2018 10:22 pm

I did summer suckering in those tobacco fields, too, and the overwhelming memory of those wretched days was having to leave a warm and dry pleasant morning to wade into that dew-soaked, sticky, clammy jungle of plants and get to work.

Miriam Mutton
Reply to  Walter L. Luedtke
11 July 2018 9:25 am

I believe the former tobacco belt is now becoming the kale belt. 🙂

Walter L. Luedtke
3 July 2018 3:30 pm

Cobourg can glory in the fame of being the site of the world’s biggest indoor grow-op for a short while. Soon other jurisdictions will legalize recreational weed and huge production facilities will follow. indoors and outdoors.
In the meantime, there is little doubt that FV Pharma will get its licence to produce recreational MJ.
Chuck Rifici was the Chief Financial Officer of the Liberal Party of Canada until he decamped to ‘greener fields’, so to speak.

3 July 2018 12:49 pm

Do they own the land where the Kerr St. extension is supposed to go?