Grow-op co-op in P.E.I. aims to offer cheap marijuana

Dave Stewart
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Keir Kenny, here outside Province House, wants to start a grow-op co-op that would provide medical marijuana at cheap prices.

It's high time medical marijuana users on P.E.I. were offered the product at a reasonable cost, says Charlottetown's Kier Kenny.

Kenny is helping to organize a grow-op co-op to offer Islanders who need medical marijuana an alternative to the incoming production facility that is supposed to be built in the P.E.I. BioCommons in Charlottetown.

Kenny said the group plans to grow an acre of hemp, a commonly used term for high growing varieties of the Cannabis plant and its products, which include fibre, oil and seed.

"We have formed a co-op and what we're doing this year is we're going to grow an acre of hemp so that we can show the government that we can grow it for pennies on the pound,'' Kenny said in an interview on Wednesday.

"Basically, we want to do a test project and we want to use the hemp for oils and for clothing and stuff like that in order to develop some markets.''

He said there are roughly 100 licensed medical marijuana users across the province. Right now people can grow their own or buy it from Health Canada but that will change on April 1 when new federal regulations take effect. Instead, they will have to buy it from a Health Canada-approved licensed producer.

Since The Guardian's interview with Kenny, a Federal Court judge issued an injunction stating that anyone presently licensed to grow the drug will be allowed to do so.

Judge Michael Manson issued an injunction last Friday exempting patients who are licensed to possess or grow medical marijuana under the current rules, either for themselves or someone else, from new regulations that would have made the practice illegal.


Charlottetown city council gave the green light by amending the zoning and development bylaw last month. Essentially, council made sure to restrict where such a facility could exist to business or industrial zones. Council didn't have any choice with the new federal regulations coming into effect.

Edwin Jewell, owner of Jewell's Country Market in York, is one of 10 investors in the new operation and they hope to be inspected and operational by the fall.

However, Kenny is concerned about what it's going to cost users.

Health Canada projects the cost will be $7.60 per gram this year with it increasing to $8.80 as the market matures in several years.

Kenny said the co-op wants to offer it at a much cheaper price.

"Our intention from the get-go is to sell the product to the client at cost. We will offer the product to people other than our client base on P.E.I. and that will be at a higher ticket price.

"The big problem is that the poor people have nowhere to go. You and I are working but (there are people who are sick) and not able to work. These are the people I'm talking about.''

While the Health Canada-approved facilities have to be constructed in a highly secure fashion, Kenny says the co-op wants to grow their product outside. Of course, there's a difference between growing hemp and marijuana.

Kenny said the co-op members don't have any issue with Jewell and his partners. They simply want to offer an alternative to those who can't afford to pay that the market will be charging.

Organizations: Health Canada, Co-op in P.E.I.

Geographic location: Charlottetown, P.E.I., Country Market York

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Recent comments

  • Chris
    August 01, 2014 - 10:53

    Started using cannabis in April for my severe back issues.. I have 7 herniated and 2 compressed disks.. Docs have had me on about 15 different opiate narcotics for 8 years.. That just put me in a total fog 24/7.. And they don't actually help.. I can't function on any of the medications they gave me.. I've also had 2 unsuccessful back surgeries. Since I started using cannabis I'm no longer bed ridden, my head is no longer in the clouds, I can walk, and do everything I use to do 8 years ago before my back issues.. Anyone who says that cannabis doesn't actually help chronic pain, doesn't know anyone with pain who had tried it. I am NOT an advocate for recreational use.. I'm opposed to it actually.. But for those who can benefit from it medically, I'm all for it, as I know it works

  • ricky
    April 22, 2014 - 12:31

    We need recreational marijuana legal in pei, so many people already smoke it recreationaly

  • OhForTheLoveOf
    March 24, 2014 - 07:38

    The gov't run plantations will cost a clean fortune to run because of the "security" that will be required. So growing hemp to show how little it costs won't do much to change things. We should be growing hemp anyway. It's a very beneficial plant with so many uses.

  • Chris Burke
    March 23, 2014 - 18:53

    This is awesome and I'm glad to see someone trying.. With the new regulations coming in on April 1 it's going to make things tough for everyone.. So if this goes through, it'll be great for medical users

  • John Ghiz
    March 23, 2014 - 17:23

    And people are doing months in jail for doing the same thing,good people too

  • Paula Dixon
    March 23, 2014 - 17:09

    Most interesting , I know I would love to be an investor in that business, I have the land to do it on ! I'm sure there are many old Tabasco farmers that would like a slice of that pie! Medical marajuana has eased many symptoms pain management and stomach illness from chemo! As far as I can tell it's a natural product grown from Mother Earth, not chemicals being produced in laboratories , testing on live animals to see side effects , with no respect for their lives, and then sold to patients!

  • Fred Washbun
    March 23, 2014 - 15:39

    Same Story, why did you not read the story before commenting? He is not wanting to grow one acre of marijuana - he wants to grow one acre of hemp to show Ottawa how cheap it can be to grow it. By commenting and not reading the story it makes you look dumber than you are

  • same story
    March 23, 2014 - 15:30

    He wants to prove it is cheap to grow? That has been proven for years. How the heck is he going to secure 1 acre of pot plants? It is another pipe dream. He should go back to the restaurant business , he was good at that l.o.l.

  • Hawkeye
    March 23, 2014 - 12:57

    Hmmm , he is on the right track the idea of growing their own for medical purposes , provided a medical RX is in place is the way to go .. The notion of giving a small group of Tory supporters a monopoly on producing this inexpensive herb without going to tender by the Federal Government is nothing short the biggest scam since the PNP boondoggle !!

  • Why not ask the Liberal MP's to help poor
    March 23, 2014 - 11:26

    Where are our three stooges Liberal MP's. Here is a man concerned about the community and where are the blowhards elected and paid to represent the people. Are none of those 100 prescription drug users important? Trudeau is an admitted pot head for recreational uses.

  • Drug Scam
    March 23, 2014 - 10:20

    Research is starting to show that medical marihuana has never really proven to be the miracle drug it is alledged to be,and the proponents of it and growing same, are just long term soft drug users who will have an unlimited source of their drug of choice. Today's Cannabis and it's various forms are extremely much more potent than the Marihuana of say 20 years ago.It's extremely addictive and has been proven to be a catalyst for various mental disorders...especially paranoia...One only has to look at the history of Coca Cola..when it first came out it contained Cocaine....... Time for some recovered substance abusers to step forward and tell their stories.....

    • FDA bigger drug scam
      March 23, 2014 - 11:53

      who's funding the research???? If its FDA our health Canada of course they're going to say it doesn't help. Their profits would go down if everyone stopped buying their approved drugs.

    • Guess What
      March 23, 2014 - 15:24

      Paranoia is a symptom not a mental disorder. Perhaps your paranoia regarding a beneficial plant is being revealed here. So quick to judge what you know very little about.

    • ForReal?
      March 23, 2014 - 18:16

      DrugScam- Spread your misinformation somewhere else. Please send me some links of this research about how Cannabis has never really been proven to be a miracle drug. You talk about how "extremely much more potent" it is then 20 years ago. Your point is? Do tell us how many people have overdosed because it's "so potent" these days? Want to compare the deaths caused by using Cannabis vs the deaths from prescription medication? Alcohol? If you use Cannabis and it makes you paranoid, don't use it. Extremely addictive? The % is actually 10 compared to 20% of those who use alcohol. I find it amusing how everyone is concerned about my health when it comes to Cannabis. I am "allowed" to drink booze and smoke cigarettes both with far more harmful effects and no medicinal value but don't smoke "marijuana" it's bad for me. What a joke.

  • Very Good Idea
    March 23, 2014 - 09:15

    Very good idea , it's not right that the government is forcing the poor people that require this to pay inflated prices to fill some investors pockets . I firmly believe people should be able to get a permit to grow the amount they need for personal use . It's only greed that is fueling this new law . And just to set it right , I don't use or need it but know some people in pain that it really helps .

  • same story
    March 23, 2014 - 08:54

    What is he talking about? Does he want to grow a product to get people high or does he want to grow hemp to make rope etc. There is huge difference in the two product.

    • Gordie
      March 23, 2014 - 10:39

      READ THE WHOLE STORY! He wants to prove he can grow the stuff for PENNIES A POUND. Hemp and marijuana cost the SAME to grow