Pubdate: Sat, 22 Feb 2014
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2014 The London Free Press
Author: John Miner
Page: A5


WeedMD will set up in the former Imperial Tobacco plant in Aylmer

A town in which hundreds of tobacco jobs were snuffed out when its
processing plant closed last decade is hoping there's a future in marijuana.

"It's a win-win situation," said Malahide Township Mayor Dave

WeedMD Rx Inc. is taking over part of the massive Imperial Tobacco
plant in Aylmer that was closed in 2007 when processing was shifted to

The company is joining a rush of firms across Canada competing to set
up medical marijuana production facilities under new Health Canada
regulations that kick in April 1.

WeedMD expects to hire as many as 100 people over the next two years
for the Aylmer plant.

"That's good news for local employment and tax revenue. It was going
to go somewhere, and why not in Aylmer?" Mennill said.

WeedMD chief executive Bruce Scully said the company has received a
pre-approval licence from Health Canada and is completing arrangements
for $3 million in financing.

WeedMD had hoped to start production April 1, but there have been

"We shouldn't be too long after that," Scully said.

The priority will be hiring local people, he said.

"Aylmer itself as a town has been very warm and receptive. We are very
fortunate to be in this community," Scully said.

WeedMD is a private company that was formed when two different groups
planning to grow medical marijuana looked at the same Aylmer facilities.

"Instead of competing we decided to join forces," Scully

The WeedMD team includes scientists working to develop new marijuana
strains and growers. Scully's background is in managing long-term care
facilities, which he said isn't as big of a jump as it might appear.

"This is all about . . . providing quality of product and service for
our customers," he said.

As of Feb. 10, Health Canada had received 450 applications for
commercial production of medical marijuana.

- --- --- ---


While tens of thousands of Canadians have turned to medical marijuana
for pain relief and courts have declared bans on medical marijuana
violate Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, doctors have been
reluctant to prescribe pot.

The Canadian Medical Association maintains there hasn't been enough
clinical research on the risks and benefits of marijuana to justify
supporting its medical use.

New Health Canada rules that kick in April 1 require Canada's 42,000
medical marijuana users to buy from licensed companies instead of
growing their own marijuana, creating a market estimated to grow to
more than $1.3 billion by 2024.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt