PORT HAWKESBURY: From developing the first successful commercial maple syrup business on Cape Breton, Jim Mustard is looking to continue to blaze the trail by being a part of a group of individuals looking to start the first cannabis production facility on the Island.
The former Minacs Call Centre building in Port Hawkesbury could soon become the site of an indoor craft cannabis production facility and act as a centre for the research and development of what the real care of patients is and looks like from the use of medicine. Breton CannaPharms Ltd. (BCP), a Cape Breton owned-and-operated company has applied to Health Canada to become a licensed producer of cannabis under the Cannabis Act.
Mustard, the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) said BCP will be primarily focused on the medical treatment of patients suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
“Our facility in full production will not meet the demand that’s out there right now,” he told The Reporter. “We’re not getting into this unless we can guarantee a supply that maintains the medicine for the people that it’s being used.”
As the CEO, Mustard said he’s just trying to pick up where BCP founder Fabian Henry has really blazed the trail. In 2013, Henry along with another Canadian Forces veteran, Mike Southwell, founded the company Marijuana for Trauma – now Canada House Clinics – with a mission to help alleviate the suffering of veterans struggling with their operational stress injuries. Upon exiting the business in 2016, Henry knew there was going to be a real need for licensed producers to secure a supply for medical patients and that’s when he began preparing the idea of BCP.
Mustard said he decided to partner with Henry not because they’re neighbours but because he has a deep respect for his vision.
“I initially saw [cannabis] as strictly an economic factor, but what I see now is that it really becomes a world leader in the treatment of PTSD,” he said. “With different genetics and the way that we track how the cannabis works with the veterans – the more I understand it, the more it completes the picture.”
Mustard said he didn’t know anything early on about the different strains, the different qualities of cannabis and what they can be, and it has truly been an eye-opening experience for him.
“I was relatively ignorant to the genetics and phenotypes and how they work, and then the expression of those things in terms of quality of the cannabis,” he said. “So I think that’s even more interesting to me now is something as simple as indica and sativa in the difference in the mind-body.”
To have the right cultivators, the right genetics, and advance the quality of those genetics, BCP has partnered with Dr. Darryl Hudson, who has done significant work in this field over the past 10-years, to be the company’s science advisor.
“We’re supported by a national network that really supports the plant genetics, and the analysis of those genetics, and then the scientific research around how this affects the patients,” Mustard said.
BCP plans to step in to provide their craft cannabis product, which would range from $5-$8.50 per gram.
Since acquiring the building in July, BCP has started demolition and are in the final stages of the design process. Once they finish the design, a full security plan is needed before they apply for a cultivation license this spring.
“Which then allows us within the next eight to 12 months to then apply for a sales license after we’ve grown two full crops,” Mustard said. “So we’re looking at early 2020, late 2019 to being very close in obtaining a sales license, and at that stage, we’ll be at full-production.”
By the time the facility is running at full-capacity Mustard said BCP conservatively will be looking at upwards of 6,000 kilograms of dried cannabis product grown and shipped each year. The building is currently 75,000 square feet, of which 24,000 will be designated for flowering rooms, and is in a prime location as its only 500-metres from the RCMP station.
Mustard said he’s seen and heard first hand the stories on what difference cannabis has made, and when Henry talks about losing 12 of his comrades since 2010 through suicides it makes this all worthwhile.
“The quality of the conversations that are going on are so elevated, this is a much needed time for a country like Canada to be at the forefront, and for us to be a part of it, and not just looking at, one aspect of it being treating PTSD but how does that roll out as a economic base for our communities – it’s an exciting time for us and I just think we’re ground zero.”