United Greeneries plans a major expansion of its marijuana-growing facility near Duncan. (Submitted photo)

United Greeneries plans a major expansion of its marijuana-growing facility near Duncan. (Submitted photo)

Local marijuana facility plans major expansion

United Greeneries plans to hire up to 100 workers

Job seekers in the Cowichan Valley can soon look closer to home for employment as a recently established licensed marijuana producer near Duncan has major expansion plans.

United Greeneries, which currently has a 16,000 sq. ft. facility in an undisclosed location in the Cowichan Valley Regional District, will be hiring up to 100 new workers as expansion plans progress.

United Greeneries began operations earlier this year and has, so far, produced two crops of more than 4,000 marijuana plants each.

The first crop of Kush strain successfully harvested in early April at the facility yielded approximately 60 kg of dried cannabis buds.

Colin Clancy, the company’s communications director, said the preliminary plans and designs for phase one of the expansion plan should be completed within the next two months, and construction should be ready to begin soon after that.

It’s expected that phase one of the expansion project will see the facility grow to approximately 130,000 square feet.

“We intend to use local construction companies and workers to build the expansion, as well as the new workers (who will each make about $20 an hour) we’ll need once the expansion plans are completed. Further expansion is planned and the project should cover about 20 acres when finished, but that’s in the future.”

It’s expected the market for recreational marijuana will be approximately $5 billion a year once it’s legalized next year, and the industry is gearing up to meet the demand.

United Greeneries has received a Canadian medicinal cannabis cultivation licence, making it one of only a few companies in the world with the capacity to commercially cultivate cannabis in a federally regulated environment.

Clancy said the company’s location in the Cowichan Valley was chosen because “an opportunity arose” as well as the fact that United Greeneries had starting forming relationships with the local First Nations.

He said the company will set up long-term training programs for First Nations that will help fill some of the new positions that will become available.

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