HALIFAX: A company with plans to put Richmond County on the craft cannabis map expects to start the hiring process this summer and have their facility constructed by the fall.
The Headland Cultivation Inc. co-founder and president David Burton told The Reporter that after the Municipality of the County of Richmond starts building a road to their facility this week at the Richmond County Industrial Park in Lennox Passage, and the company conducts site clearing on their 30 acres, Headland Cultivation hopes to award the construction tender early next month.
Burton said the timeline is for construction to begin in the spring and finish by next fall. He said the start of road construction and site clearing are encouraging for all stakeholders.
“Investors like to see heavy equipment getting things done and so does the community,” the co-founder said.
The company plans to produce 4 million grams annually of Connoisseur Quality Cannabis, then ship to Alberta and Ontario at first, as well as the rest of Nova Scotia.
“We’re targeting those markets because there are concentrations of East Coasters willing to buy our product,” Burton explained.
He noted that Headland will also work with medical patients across the country with the ability to send their product direct from Richmond County via Xpress Post or FedEx.
According to a November, 2018 media release from Headland, the company has a “first mover advantage,” in the marketplace.
“We’re looking for dominate the craft space in the market,” Burton stated.
Burton explained one of their major assets is an internationally renowned Master Grower who is moving to the region from Holland and will oversee the complicated task of growing exotic strains that will be hand-trimmed, non-irradiated and hang-dried.
Although they are not on the scale of the “commodity producers,” Burton said Headland is not a mom and pop operation either. This sets them apart from companies which commonly employ consultants and have that “big box” mentality, he noted.
He said there is a market segment that was identified in the black market which prefers a high quality product, to mass-produced cannabis.
“We’ve identified this area of the market which is craft,” Burton said. “The big guys are not equipped to go after the craft market, we are.”
In the meantime, Headland Cultivation is addressing the “stream” of e-mails and inquiries from job-seekers from as far away as Alberta.
“We’re looking at a community-engaged recruitment process to start in the summer,” Burton explained, noting he has already sought the services of outlets like Telile on Isle Madame to get the word out, as well as using their social media pages.
Burton is very enthusiastic about the potential workforce, which he sees as experienced and skilled.
In addition to the Master Grower, Burton said Headland is fortunate to have the services of Ernie Buist as vice-president of finance, who is returning to Cape Breton from Saudi Arabia.
“He is the missing link,” Burton said of the final position being filled on Headland’s management team. “To have someone of Ernie’s talent and island-born is very fortunate for us.”
Company officials have recently attended the Richmond County Business dinner, the launch of the municipality’s feature in Atlantic Business magazine, and organized a stakeholders appreciation evening in October, which was attended by municipal councilors and staff, members of the Cape Breton Partnership, and others who helped the company along the way.
The company also hosted a management team weekend in October, which included presentations and allowed partners to tour the area, including taking-in the opening concert for Celtic Colours 2018.
“The team has to be comfortable in Richmond County and for them to be as comfortable as they can is very important to us,” Burton added.