Pubdate: Fri, 05 Jan 2018
Source: Truro Daily News (CN NS)
Copyright: 2018 The Daily News
Author: Aaron Beswick
Page: A3


EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the third in a series of stories focusing on
people in Nova Scotia who will be delving into the marijuana industry.

Up an Antigonish County woods road, Frank MacMaster's surroundings
were modest.

But the camp where he's spending the winter was warm, courtesy of a
fire going in the wood stove, and there was a microwave with which to
make a visitor tea.

Most importantly, there was a dream that appears about to bear
significant fruit.

That's because MacMaster is the president of THC Inc. and his former
abattoir up the ice-covered dirt road in the Ohio Valley will be
growing marijuana by the end of January.

"I went all in," said MacMaster. On Dec. 1, THC Inc., became the
second operation in the province to be granted a licence by Health
Canada to grow marijuana. Breathing Green Solutions became the first
in November when Health Canada approved it to start growing marijuana
at its Wentworth facility.

MacMaster estimates THC'S 6,500-square-foot facility will be able to
grow 500,000 to 700,000 grams of marijuana annually.

With projections pointing to marijuana retailing at about $10 a gram
when it becomes legal in July, MacMaster's fortunes will likely soon

But he travelled a long and uncertain road to get to the cusp on which
he now stands.

An industrial electrician, MacMaster was working at mines in the
Northwest Territories when he built the abattoir back in Antigonish
County as a means of making a job for himself back home.

"I wanted to be closer to my family and be able to see my daughter
grow up but I found I was working 24-7," said MacMaster.

So in 2013 he shut the abattoir down and returned to his previous

But before he went north again he filed an application with Health
Canada to grow medical marijuana for research and development.

"There wasn't even a commercial production class then," said

"I was looking for a use for the building."

That put him near the front of a line that would only later become a
very valuable position to be in.

In 2014, MacMaster's licence application was transferred over to
Health Canada's new licensing class for commercial medical marijuana

Venture capital began flooding into the growth industry while Health
Canada moved slowly on granting licences.

To do the necessary work on his building, MacMaster teamed up with
Matica Enterprises Ltd. of British Columbia - exchanging 50 per cent
of the shares in his company in exchange for $325,000 and shares in

That deal went south when Matica sued MacMaster in 2015, claiming he
diverted investment funds away from the contracted plan to establish a
marijuana growing facility. MacMaster denied the allegations.

Then in May, a B.C. company specializing in green renewable power
stepped in and bought out both Matica and MacMaster.

Cultivator Catalyst Corp. paid Matica with $700,000 of its own shares
and bought out MacMaster in similar fashion.

So MacMaster now has a partial ownership stake in Cultivator Catalyst
Corp., which owns his former company, THC Inc.

He remains president of THC Inc.

Cultivator Catalyst Corp. appears to dream as big as

"We've got 19 acres (on MacMaster's former farm) to play with so we
could easily plunk down a 100,000-square-foot facility," said Khurram
Malik, acting president of Cultivator Catalyst.

"The question is how much does the province need and then we will
build according to that."

The facility would produce between four million and five million grams
a year and employ more than 100 people.

With the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation set to be the only retailer of
recreational marijuana in the province, that makes it the only game in

If it can strike a deal with NSLC to sell what's grown in Nova Scotia
at its stores, then Malik said the company has access to the capital
to start construction on a facility to meet that need.

Catalyst Corp. has been buying up licence holders like MacMaster
across Canada with the aim of building growing operations, along with
individual brands to meet the needs of each local market.

"The centralized model doesn't work anymore - we weren't going to
build a big facility in Ontario and export to the other provinces,"
said Malik.

"We will build local brands - craft brewer kinds of

But before they do that, they have to run electricity through the
elaborate ventilation, fertilizing and security systems in MacMaster's
former abattoir.

Then they have to grow two crops of marijuana, have them tested by
Health Canada and get approved to sell the product they are now
licensed to grow.

Only then can they all start making money.
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MAP posted-by: Matt