A bid to open a giant industrial hemp facility in Prince George is getting a warm reception from community leaders in the northern B.C. city.
B.C. Hemp Corporation made its pitch Wednesday to a large crowd, including Prince George’s mayor, a B.C. Liberal MLA, a former Green Party candidate and the head of the airport authority.
Company pitches 1,500 jobs
“We’re well under way,” said B.C. Hemp Corporation CEO Michael Fazakas, who envisions a $350-million operation he claims will create 1,500 jobs in Prince George.
The company plans to lease land from local farmers to grow hemp fibre and grain. Fazakas says the company will start with a small test site, but hopes to expand to a 300,000-acre operation by 2025.
The company’s plan includes several facilities in the Prince George area to process the hemp, extract cannabidiol —CBD — and conduct pharmaceutical research.
The company’s main production facility is set to be constructed on several hundred acres near the Prince George airport, at Johnson Road and the Old Cariboo Highway.
Hemp smoothies at airport cafe?
“It really resonated with us,” said Prince George Airport Authority CEO Gordon Duke.
“When the time comes to start shipping B.C. hemp to ports all over the world, we’re ready to help,” Duke said. “Ideally, we’ll be serving B.C. hemp smoothies in our [airport] cafe.”
Fazakas, who previously worked in the oil industry in South Africa, said his company still needs to attract more investors.
His company’s bid is one of several proposals on the table to create jobs through hemp or cannabis cultivation in northern B.C.
Prince George city council has already given the green light to Cannwest Development’s proposal for a large cannabis production facility south of the Prince George airport.
Cannwest wants to grow 4,000 square metres of cannabis, creating 80 jobs on 36 acres along the Willow Cale Forest Service Road.
In Burns Lake, an Indigenous-owned company wants to replace vanishing forestry jobs with new jobs in pot production. Nations Cannabis plans to renovate a former mill in Decker Lake to cultivate 25,000 square feet of marijuana.