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Medical pot project takes root in Espanola

Mia Jenson-Sudbury Star, Timmins The Daily Press, GreyBruce This Week, Cochrane Times Post, Lakeshore Times, The Courier Press,

07/04/2019

A new Northern Ontario cannabis company is hoping to tap into the medicinal pot industry through a science-based approach. GaiaCann, which calls itself a “full-spectrum, discovery-focused” company, received their high-level review confirmation for two standard cultivation, processing and sales this spring. Their 32,000-square-foot facility will be located in Espanola and is set to be fully licensed and ready to begin operation in March of next year. A second site next-door will be operational the following season. This research facility will allow the company to do everything from analytical testing and drug discovery to cultivation, extraction and purification. “Our flagship facility, The Innovation Project, is expected to be a scientific growth hub in Northern Ontario,” says CEO Jeffery Scharf, “On the site of this facility, we will have our extraction as well as indoor advanced cultivation and research. We hope this facility will set the benchmark for innovation in the cannabis industry.” GaiaCann settled in Espanola because of Scharf, who had worked on development projects with the city in the past. Bringing GaiaCann to Espanola brings more industry to the city, while also being outside of the city centre, which he said is preferable while the public warms up to the idea of cannabis. “We are very excited for Greater Sudbury to be the hub of our truly unique company,” said Scharf. “GaiaCann plans to change the landscape of the cannabis industry, and we are happy to have the community on this journey with us.” Candice Morel, vice-president of marketing and compliance for GaiaCann, says their focus is in drug discovery. She says they hope to bring cannabis to a pharmaceutical level drug. Morel says there have been challenges along the way, especially since the industry is fast-moving and constantly changing. Learning the public market and getting all the necessary licences has been “quite the challenge, but a challenge we’re really excited about.” She also says the company expects to create over 100 jobs in the cultivation sites alone. “It takes a lot of staff to run a facility of this size,” she noted. “Not only labour staff, but scientists, researchers, security, quality assurance, and more. We are really excited to bring those jobs.” GaiaCann also recently announced that it has entered into a letter of intent with ONEnergy to enter into a reverse takeover. Morel described the partnership as “business love at first sight,” adding the move will allow GaiaCann to go public, expand and gain investmentors. “They kind of jumped on board with us right away and have been really supportive the whole time,” she said. “We are beyond excited to have entered into a strategic relationship with ONEnergy,” said Scharf. “They have been such a valuable addition to our growing team, and we would like to thank them for their dedication and patience throughout this process.” With the letter of intent finalized, GaiaCann and ONEnergy are now in the process of negotiating a definitive agreement to lay out the terms of their partnership. “We have worked tirelessly to create the best group of uniquely skilled individuals to develop and implement GaiaCann’s aggressive expansion plans and innovative research capabilities,” said Scharf. “We strongly believe GaiaCann will advance the cannabis industry to a new level of scientific growth and this deal will be paramount in achieving that goal.”