Pubdate: Wed, 20 Dec 2017
Source: Northern Pen (CN NF)
Copyright: 2017 Northern Pen
Author: Stephen Roberts
Page: A5


McDonald believes production facility should be located in rural

St. Anthony Mayor Desmond McDonald believes the province's marijuana
production facility should be located in a rural area.

He also sees opportunities for business with the province's plan to
legalize marijuana.

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced on Dec. 8 that
it has signed a deal to lock in a supply of cannabis and cannabis
products from Canadian company Canopy Growth, ahead of the
legalization of marijuana for recreational use in July 2018.

The deal included a commitment to build a new marijuana production
facility in the province - providing an estimated 145 jobs by the time
it is up and running in 2019.

The location for the facility has yet to be decided but it is expected
to have the capacity to produce 12,000 kilograms of cannabis products

McDonald believes the production facility would have a greater, more
positive impact if it were located in a rural area rather than an
urban centre, like St. John's.

He says there are number of rural communities in Newfoundland and
Labrador looking for employment opportunities, and this would have
been an opportunity to create jobs in those communities.

"Out by the St. Anthony airport, stick up a $55-million facility, pull
your employees from all the outlying communities," McDonald suggested
as an example.

He doesn't believe transportation would be an issue.

"I know (St. John's) is the biggest centre on the island but a lot of
outlying communities need employment these days," he said.

As mayor and St. Anthony and Area Chamber of Commerce president,
McDonald sees marijuana legalization as an opportunity for local
businesses to make money.

Throughout the province and on the Northern Peninsula, he anticipates
many businesses will apply to be retailers.

"I think there's going to be a lot of interest in St. Anthony and I
think you'll see a dispensary pop up in every major centre, if not in
every major community on the Northern Peninsula," said McDonald.

He added he was glad to hear the federal government announce that 75
per cent of marijuana tax revenue will go to the provinces.

"That's a good thing in terms of the provinces having a few more
dollars to invest in infrastructure," he said. "And hopefully
municipalities can avail of those extra funds."
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