A cannabis entrepreneur is planning to tap into the Western Canadian recreational market from a production facility situated in a municipality that doesn’t allow retail sales of the drug within its boundaries.
Alicanto Gardens Ltd. received a micro-cultivation licence from Health Canada on Dec. 18, 2020. The licence allows Alicanto to sell cannabis seeds and plants to authorized distributors and retailers.
On Dec. 22, 2020, Delta 9 Cannabis Inc., which operates an 80,000-sq-ft. Winnipeg production facility and a chain of retail stores, announced it had signed a "strategic cooperation agreement" with Alicanto to assist the start-up with production, sanitation, licensing, and marketing.
Alicanto will receive 12 proprietary "grow pod" systems and build a second production facility to house 12 more, John Arbuthnot, Delta 9’s founder and CEO, said in a release.
"We have been able to leverage an existing 4,000 square foot warehouse facility from a previous business venture and convert it to a state-of-the-art production facility that incorporates all the latest technology for growing cannabis," Waldemar Heidebrecht, Alicanto’s owner, said in the release.
Heidebrecht described his company as "a family-owned and self-funded boutique cannabis grower" with plans to supply recreational cannabis to Western Canada.
He declined to discuss his operation further in an interview.
Delta 9’s grow pods are stackable modular cannabis production units made from retrofitted shipping containers.
"Alicanto’s initial plan is to focus on growing a single strain of high THC (cannabis) before it expands its product offering," the release said.
Once cultivation begins, Delta 9 will buy Alicanto cannabis products and distribute them to retailers.
RM of Morris council granted Alicanto a conditional use permit on Sept. 9, 2020 to allow "the propagation, cultivation and processing of cannabis" on an 80-acre parcel of farmland located 10 minutes south of Morris.
Reeve Ralph Groening said no one objected to the application and council treated it like any other agricultural proposal.
"We simply followed our planning bylaws and had a brief discussion," he said.
Groening called Heidebrecht a "respectable long-term resident of our municipality" with a background in farm machinery sales.
"Council chose to see it as an innovative agricultural enterprise that will create jobs and build the economy," Groening said.
Alicanto will create three or four jobs to start but may employ more people as the business grows, Groening said.
However, the arrival of Alicanto hasn’t changed the municipality’s stance on retail sales of cannabis products within its boundaries.
"We’re not selling it here in the RM. That was part of the discussion. It will be produced and possibly packaged in the RM," Groening said.