Niagara, April 9, 2018 – On Tuesday, April 17, 2018, the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) will hold its Annual General Meeting at the Royal Niagara Golf Club. Niagara’s largest business organization will deliver its annual update to its members and the community.
The GNCC is pleased to announce that Mark Zekulin, President of Canopy Growth Organization, will be the guest speaker at the luncheon. Mark is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, and studied law at the University of Ottawa and International Law at Cambridge. Mark formerly served as a senior advisor to the Ontario Minister of Finance and worked for the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the Organization for Economic Co-operation ad Development (OECD).
Canopy Growth is a world leader in cannabis and hemp, operating seven cannabis production sites with over a million square feet of production capacity and working in seven countries across four continents. This company has been the first in its field to go public, launch diversified growing platforms, and bring together two major licensed cannabis producers.
Tweed is part of the Canopy Growth Organization. Tweed Farms, a branch of Tweed, is located in Niagara-on-the-Lake and is one of the largest licensed greenhouses in the world, home to 350,000 square feet of growing space and over 50 employees. Tweed Farms accentuates its environmentally contentious growing practices using recycled rainwater and sunlight as part of their growing process.
Tweed Farms extensive operation is contributing to the booming cannabis industry that is developing within the Niagara Region. Of the 22 million square feet of greenhouse space, available within the Niagara Region, about 1.87 million square feet is used by six licensed cannabis producers. Greenhouse space dedicated to cannabis production is anticipated to increase to approximately three million square feet by 2019.
Companies are looking to invest their cannabis expansion efforts within Niagara due to its agricultural reputation. UP Cannabis has invested $30-million in the former Westbrook orchid greenhouse to expand their operations in Beamsville. The Niagara Facility will expand the growing, processing, packaging, shipping and storage efforts in the 160,000 square foot facility later on this year.
Jennifer Maccarone from UP Cannabis feels that not acting on the potential of the cannabis industry will result in a loss to foreign investors. According to Statistics Canada, in 2017, approximately 4.9 million Canadians spent $5.7 billion on medical and non-medical cannabis. The cannabis industry is will increase job prospects within the region. Positions will see an eclectic variety of job opportunities in customer service, technology, research, and medicine, among others.
Locally, recognition of the potential for this industry can be seen in the newly developed Commercial Cannabis Production program at Niagara College, a post-graduate program designed to educate students about the growth and cultivation of cannabis as well as the governmental guidelines and regulations. The program will commence in the fall of this year with a first class of twenty-four.
The cannabis industry has huge potential for the Niagara Region, with the vast expansion of cannabis organizations, investments, greenhouse acquisition, the agricultural superiority of the area, the potential job prospects, and educational programs that could reach beyond our borders.
To hear Mark’s insights into this promising new industry and its potential for the region, the GNCC hopes that interested parties will join them on Tuesday, April 17th. For further information and tickets please contact Jane Jarvis at 905-684-2361 ext. 226.
The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce is the largest business organization in Niagara and the third-largest Chamber of Commerce in Ontario, with 1,600 members representing 50,000 employees. More information on the GNCC is available at gncc.ca.
Mishka Balsom, President & CEO of GNCC
Mishka@gncc.ca or 905-684-2361