A group that provides the starting plant material for licensed medical marijuana producers under Health Canada is seeking a site for greenhouse facilities in the South Okanagan.
Representatives from The Herbal Clone Bank have been looking in the Okanagan Falls area but are open to setting up a greenhouse at other locations in the area.
"We were looking in Okanagan Falls because of a need for employment and industry and the excellent agricultural resource there, " said Geoff White, one of three partners in the company. "But we are entertaining other sites in the South Okanagan."
The goal of the newly formed Okanagan company, which includes President Barry Kuypers and general manager David Hutchinson, is to supply pre-flowering vegetative plants, meaning there is no bud as its commonly known in their production cycle.
Hutchinson said they had to submit a letter of intent to the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen, police and fire, as part of their submission to Health Canada.
Their application was then submitted to Health Canada and they await their approval.
The group also attended the last meeting of the RDOS board where board members made the decision to ask the provincial Agricultural Land Commission to remove medical marijuana as an allowable use on Agricultural Land Reserve land.
The objective of the board being to ensure regional district input on any local application to license a medical marijuana operation.
"We attended the meeting because of the topic and because our group works with greenhouses, and they are going to be a key component in this developing industry," said White, who already operates ProgenyBio Agricultural Services in Penticton.
In the aftermath of the meeting, their next steps will be to continue their search for a site.
They hope to find one soon, with the intention of starting building their greenhouse facilities by March.
"We realize this is an educational process, and we will continue to be available for discussion to enlighten the public on this new industry," said White.
It is he further explained an industry that is rapidly evolving with their company being evidence of that. He also used what is happening in Washington state as an example.
"More green houses are springing up in the Okanogan in Washington state because now there is an open market for marijuana, and greenhouses are the most efficient way to produce it," he said.