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P.E.I. marijuana business expects jobs, production to blossom after purchase

Edwin Jewell, owner of Canada’s Island Garden, is expanding his Charlottetown facility next year to meet the demand for medical marijuana as well as recreational marijuana once it is legalized. TERRENCE MCEACHERN/THE GUARDIAN
Edwin Jewell, owner of Canada’s Island Garden. -GUARDIAN FILE PHOTO

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - The purchase of Canada’s Island Garden by a large American company will allow P.E.I.’s pot plant to grow exponentially, says the company’s president and CEO.

“It means that we have a partner to work with that can move our company forward that we could not do on our own,’’ says Edwin Jewell.

“Extremely excited…it’s wonderful.’’

How wonderful is it to have U.S. tobacco-leaf merchant Alliance One International Inc. acquire majority stakes in Canada’s Island Garden, the province’s only licensed medical marijuana producer?

Well, Jewell sees rapid and considerable growth in the company as a result of the deal that was months in the making.

He anticipates Canada’s Island Garden, which will retain its name, to increase its production capability from roughly 1,000 kilograms a year to 30,000 kilograms a year within just two years.

Within the same period, Jewell expects staff to grow from approximately 20 today to between 150 and 200.

Jewell is staying on as president and CEO.

“My duties will increase,’’ he notes.

Alliance One International., based in North Carolina, says its subsidiary, Canadian Cultivated Products, acquired a 75 per cent equity position in the Charlottetown-based company last month.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Related: U.S. tobacco supplier acquires majority stakes in PEI, Ontario pot companies

The deal marks another move by a U.S. company to tap the Canadian cannabis industry as the country prepares to legalize marijuana for recreational use later this year.

Jewell, who recently sold Jewell’s Country Market, is leaning on a deep background in agriculture and horticulture to produce a quality product in a state-of-the-art facility located in the BioCommons Research Park.

In February 2017, Health Canada gave the business the green light to sell cannabis.

Earlier this year, Canada’s Island Garden was one of three companies that entered into an agreement to supply the P.E.I. government with legal and regulated marijuana.

He expects the company’s market both for medicinal and recreational marijuana to stretch well beyond Canada’s borders in coming years.

“Now we’re part of an international company,’’ he says.

Jewell started the process five years ago to have a medical marijuana growing facility.

He told The Guardian a while back the biggest challenge was to get reassurance that all of the systems, including computer software, LED lights and the heating/ventilation system, were all working properly.

His product needed to pass stringent testing at a lab in Fredericton, N.B., followed by Health Canada conducting an on-site inspection of the facility.

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