By Jill Bellefontaine
The legalized marijuana revolution sweeping across Canada touched down at the somewhat unlikely location of the Sheet Harbour Legion on July 25. At a public meeting, Chris Taylor, COO of #HashTag Glasshouse Inc., welcomed a room full of residents who listened to Taylor’s very detailed presentation and then aired their concerns.
#Hashtag Glasshouse Inc. is a federally approved medical cannabis facility through Health Canada’s Licensing Program. HRM has granted the company a development permit to build a 6100 square foot medical cannabis production facility on Highway 7 in Pleasant Harbour.
Actual marijuana production will occur in 35 000 square feet of dedicated greenhouses that will have state-of-the-art air handling and lighting systems that will allow them to be fully operational 365 days a year. Taylor said his mother Carmen Gerrard of Alberta was Proprietor and his stepfather Peter Gerrard of Alberta was the founder and CEO of #Hashtag Glasshouse Inc.
Taylor emphasized the company’s commitment to the area. “Only by working together, will we be able to succeed,” Taylor said. “That’s why at HashTag we have not only committed to not only being a good neighbour, but your best neighbour… This beautiful piece of coast that we all live and work on is more than just a location to us. It's our history, it’s Peter’s history [born and raised in Popes Harbour, NS], it’s our future, it’s my future [Taylor has plans to move to the Eastern Shore in January 2019], it’s our home.” He estimated that the company would be putting $1.4 million in salaries along into the local economy.
In describing the company’s plans, Taylor emphasized the company’s commitment to a clean environment and to security. Hashtag has chosen industrial composting to destroy and repurpose all of their organic waste. However, Health Canada’s sanitary requirements prevent them from being able to use this compost within their facility. The company’s intention is to make this compost available to the community, free of charge.
The company will eliminate all air-borne smells from the facility. Water will come from rainwater catchment and wells, and the company will have a zero-waste irrigation system to avoid any potential for groundwater or surface contamination.
On the security front, Taylor said the facility will be surrounded by 8-foot-high chain link fences with intrusion detection technology and a complete 360⁰ fully recorded HD video surveillance system. All doors will require dual security verification including pin and keycard entries. All finished product within the facility must be stored in another secure storage room.
After Taylor finished his presentation, he heard from an audience skeptical of his claims about neighbourliness.
“You came in from under and did all this, you went behind our backs and were sneaky and now you want to have good relationships with your neighbours and have us support you in this? I don’t think so,” said one community member.
“What you’re building belongs in an industrial park,” exclaimed another person.
“For a company who wants to be good neighbours, you sure have circumvented all the polite and neighbourly things to do. Don’t blame it on living in Alberta. You could have sent your ass out here a lot earlier,” said another.
“You are putting this massive operation between two young families, and across from the only farm this community has in 50km either direction,” cried another.
There will be another community meeting at some point in August for the community to continue communicating their concerns and opinions to the company.