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Queens County to get medical marijuana grow-op

Myrna Gillis, CEO and co-founder of Aqualitas, explains to council how a new medical marijuana grow-operation at Port Mersey Industrial Park will help provide jobs to Queens.
Myrna Gillis, CEO and co-founder of Aqualitas, explains to council how a new medical marijuana grow-operation at Port Mersey Industrial Park will help provide jobs to Queens.

BROOKLYN - Work has already begun on a new, proprietary medical marijuana grow-op at Port Mersey Industrial Park in Brooklyn.

Myrna Gillis, CEO and co-founder of Aqualitas, announced today that the company is building a 70,000 square foot production facility, which will employ at least 60 people.

The facility is in the final stages of applying for a  medical marijuana licence from the federal government, but Gillis says although they are very hopeful, it is up to Health Canada to determine whether their facility qualifies.

Aqualitas plans to grow cannibas using a proprietary “aquaponic” growing technique.

Aquaponics combines aquaculture and horticulture in a water-based growing process, where fish provide primary nutrients to plants. The process uses no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, and, she says, produces higher yields.

Work has already started on the large building in Port Mersey.

She says they choose Brooklyn because of the high security of the area, and because the company has a commitment to rural Nova Scotia.

“One was we wanted a site that had a job ready market, and obviously since the closure of the Mersey Bowater plant has closed there were people we knew were looking for work in this part of the province, people that were skilled.”

She says the site’s security was also a prime factor.

“We also wanted to promote the rural economy. We’re all proud Nova Scotian’s so that’s why we came here.”

She says there are many regulations, including quality assurance for the plant.

“Our company would be no different than a company manufacturing a drug,” she says. “It’s very bio-secure because you don’t want any pathogens getting into the plant.”

She says there will be one full time position for every 4,000 feet of space, which means at full capacity there will be at least 60 jobs.

Gillis says the company intends to hire as many locals as possible.

The company, she says, is also committed to using local suppliers and contractors wherever possible.

Gillis says she won’t know how long it will be before the first medical marijuana plants will be ready – because it all depends on when the federal government gives the company a licence.

But, she says, the growing period is about three months.

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