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STELLARTON — Cannabis production in Stellarton has officially begun.

Zenabis Global Inc. CEO Andrew Grieve announced the facility’s official opening on Monday after receiving its Health Canada approval to cultivate and grow cannabis at the former electronics plant on Acadia Avenue.

The 255,000 square-foot facility is the third for Zenabis and adds a design capacity of 18,500 kilograms of dried cannabis a year. The company also produces cannabis in Atholville, N.B. and B.C.

“This is an important milestone for our company,” Grieve said. “Together with our progress in securing supply agreements with governments and private vendors, this milestone further positions Zenabis to be a significant provider of cannabis to Canadian consumers. We are very excited to increase our growing capacity in Eastern Canada. We are also incredibly grateful to the community for their support, and we look forward to significantly increasing local employment.”

The Stellarton site is located on a 12.5-acre land parcel and allows for more future expansion.

Grieve said the company plans to employ more than 200 people at the Stellarton facility. The product lines of cannabis options include edibles, oils and medical products, as well as recreational use.

Guests at Monday’s news conference included Chief Bob Gloade from the Millbrook First Nation, Central Nova MP Sean Fraser, Stellarton Mayor Danny MacGillivray and Pictou Centre MLA Pat Dunn.

Grieve credited Fraser for helping the company get the Stellarton plant licensed.

“Sean very quietly and effectively advocated for us in Ottawa,” he said.

Fraser noted three positive outcomes from the federal Liberals’ decision to legalize cannabis use during its current mandate that include making it more difficult for children to secure it, reduced organized crime and economic benefits.

Cannabis sales in Nova Scotia began in October.

“We’re already seeing positive results in the last few months,” he said.

He said the new facility in Stellarton will help the local economy.

“This is a good day for our community,” he said. “There is reason to be optimistic for Pictou County and northern Nova Scotia. Pictou County is a great place to be and now 200 more people will be able to call it home.”

Grieve also thanked MacGillivray and the town staff for helping the company progress with the Stellarton project.

MacGillivray said the Zenabis plant represents a third major employment component for Stellarton with Sobeys Inc. and the Nova Scotia Community College.

Dunn said emerging jobs like those at Zenabis and several hundred permanent jobs at Michelin are timely after the closure of other manufacturing employers, such as Maritime Steel and TrentonWorks.

Zenabis has distribution in eight Canadian provinces and one territory.

The company announced an agreement with Shoppers Drug Mart in February, adding a major new retail channel to serve medical patients across Canada.

Zenabis Global Inc. officially opened its cannabis facility in Stellarton on Monday after receiving its Health Canada approval for production there. Front row, from left: Chief Bob Gloade from the Millbrook First Nation, Zenabis CEO Andrew Grieve and May Nazair, manager of licensing, business and communication for Zenabis. Back row: Central Nova MP Sean Fraser, Stellarton Mayor Danny MacGillivray and Pictou Centre MLA Pat Dunn.  (Goodwin photo)