Ponoka County approves permit for cannabis operation

Ponoka County approves permit for cannabis operation

Micro Grow now awaits Health Canada approval for Maskwacis area facility

A cannabis production facility within Ponoka County has climbed the first step in a lengthy process that may not even conclude with an actual operating business.

Micro Grow had their development permit finally approved by council at their April 23 meeting, after two previous reports to council ended up with administration being tasked to tackle concerns surrounding the situation.

Normally, a development permit would not need to be approved by council. However, as the property is zoned direct control, all conditions of the permit must be determined and approved by council. Even then, council can only control certain issues as the business is federally regulated by Health Canada, which includes a lengthy list of security and other rules.

Sehn-Chi Deip, Micro Grow owner, along with business partner Howard Ing appeared in front of council at the meeting and were able to adequately address all of the outstanding issues.

The latest concern had council wondering how the proposed 5,000 square foot building would be serviced by various utilities, especially water.

Deip confirmed that the Samson First Nation will allow the facility to connect to their water distribution system, which alleviates both the water supply and fire protection concerns that council had expressed earlier this month.

“The amount of water available from Samson will be sufficient and that solid waste will be placed into a holding tank that will be pumped out by truck,” he said.

“As well, any other waste such as clippings, will be bagged up and taken to a nearby transfer station or landfill.”

In addition, Deip was able to provide council with further details on the size and type of operation that will be housed in the building.

While the building will be 5,000 square feet, less than half (2,150 square feet) will consist of cannabis production. Growth of the cannabis will be done in a soil base, in two different rooms, under the 135 grow lights with a maximum of nine plants being allowed under each light. The growing cycle will last about three months.

Watering will be done every three days for the plants, meaning watering would use an estimated 1,800 to 2,400 litres, with Samson being able to supply more water — up to two to three cubic metres per day — if it is needed by the facility.

Assistant CAO Tom Webber added the building is fairly basic and will have enough on-site parking for staff. He also noted there are no other concerns that haven’t been addressed.

Deip added the Health Canada approval process is “plodding along” and believed it may move somewhat faster now that a permit has been issued. However, it could still be months before the business could be up and running.