June 11, 2014 - 2:59 PM
LUMBY - The Village of Lumby is open for a once outlawed business and at least one company is highly interested.
True Leaf Medicine Inc., chaired by former B.C. premier Mike Harcourt, is waiting for full approval from Health Canada to open a marijuana production facility in Lumby.
The municipality recently passed legislation allowing medical marijuana companies to apply for business licenses through the village and to open production facilities on industrial land. True Leaf, founded by Vernon entrepreneur Darcy Bomford, is ready to call the village home.
“The Village of Lumby has been really proactive with medical marijuana production,” Bomford says. “We appreciate the open door policy.”
Once it gets approval from Health Canada, True Leaf could be up and running within six months. The $3 million facility would produce around 1,620 pounds of dried marijuana per year, with the potential to expand operations in the future. Product would be shipped to patients through Health Canada’s mail order system anywhere in the country.
The Lumby property wasn’t the company’s first choice. In January, True Leaf had approval for a site in Vernon, but Health Canada rescinded the authorization due to proximity with residential areas. Combined with zoning issues with the City of Vernon, Bomford decided to focus efforts in another municipality. After hundreds of pages of paperwork, True Leaf is close to launching operations under Health Canada’s new medical marijuana regime.
To fit Health Canada’s new code, the True Leaf facility requires several rings of security, including a fenced property, key card entry into the building, and a vault to store the product in. The new system is meant to make the industry safer and less open to corruption.
“I think it (new system) is going to work. Health Canada has made it a difficult, fairly high-barrier entry. There are a lot of checks and balances in place,” Bomford says.
In time, he hopes Health Canada allows the sale of marijuana in varying forms—capsules, oils and edibles. Right now, facilities are limited to selling solely dried cannabis.
“People who are sick don’t really want to smoke cannabis,” he says.
What marijuana strain to consume and how to consume it to best treat a patient’s symptoms is the company’s other mission.
“Our whole focus is to market to the medical community. We want to be partners with physicians, we want to provide them with the support they need to feel comfortable prescribing medical cannabis,” Bomford says.
That will involve clinical trials, research with patients and lab work.
“The product has been illegal for 70 years and because it’s a controlled substance there hasn’t been a lot of research done on the product. I talk to people every day who medical cannabis has helped them though certain things, so there’s definitely something there. Our job is to provide the research and proof of efficacy,” Bomford says.
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