The Truro Herbal Company: Stage 3 Approval From Health Canada

If you drive north from Halifax, Nova Scotia on Highway 102 for about 45 minutes you arrive in Truro. It's a fair-sized town of just over 12,000 residents and situates itself as The Hub of the province. It is really a point of provincial crossroads, which seems fitting for the typically conservative 256-year-old town. After all, this is the home of the Truro Herbal Company - one of the few Licensed Production applications being made to Health Canada for producing medical grade cannabis in Nova Scotia.

And its application, some 1,400 pages in administrative detail, has just reached a significant milestone of success. As of November 27th, 2015, The Truro Herbal Company has attained their Stage 3 approval status from Health Canada under the federal medical marijuana production regulations. On November 30th The THC officially closed their 6.3 acre land purchase agreement with the Town of Truro. This initiates the construction phase of the project where THC partners and local contractors will come together and begin planning the construction of their state-of-the-art facility.

Back in August we met with Evan Price, a locally raised entrepreneur and The THC's President and CEO. Meeting at their office in downtown Truro, Price gives us a tour of their administrative operations, concluding at a wall map marking out the intended build site. It's immediately apparent that Price is all business about bringing medical marijuana to Truro's aging population. With over half the local population over the age of 60 the CEO sees a great importance in serving local patients who are battling repetitive stress injuries, chronic pain, and cancer.

"One of the reasons why we wanted to operate here on the east coast is because here in Nova Scotia we have some pretty severe rates of cancer, depression, obesity, and some of those are the highest rates here in Truro and Colchester, nationally. We all have friends and family who are coming up against some pretty serious medical conditions and that's the motivating factor for a lot of the investors that came forward. They want to know that their patients and family members have access to a product that is grown right here."

Founded in late 2013, and formally invested with a full board by 2014, the Truro Herbal Company had prepared for a certain degree of local contention. As Price explained, "There have been Conservative MLAs here for a long time, a great number of churches per capita in this town specifically, so there were obviously concerns as to whether this message would be well received. We were expecting a little bit of push back."

The reality has been quite opposite with nothing short of success as the company worked with Truro's Development Society and secured a 6.3 acre commercially zoned lot in the town's industrial park. Now with the deal closed, Price intends to break ground this coming spring on Phase 1 of the project, a 16,000 sq ft facility with over 6,000 sq ft for grow space and employment for over 50 long-term meaningful jobs. In a town that is familiar with hard economic times there is a strong appreciation for ideas that bring sustainable employment to local residents.

"A lot of the members we started with, our management team, and investors were all from Truro and active community members, business leaders, and people involved with volunteering for the town. So there were some strong connections we were drawing from in order to put that partnership together."

Dalhousie University Agri Campus

And there have been other local synergies worth mentioning. Just down the road from the proposed build site is Dalhousie University's agricultural campus which draws national and international academics. Price see's this local talent pool as an incredible resource, while also connecting with the extensive medical research carried out by Dalhousie's medical school. Price says that the conversations with the institution have shown to be incredibly positive and progressive toward working together in the near future.

At the end of the day, the Truro Herbal Company holds close to their patient-first strategy. Having spent a great deal of time in patient outreach and speaking with local health care recipients about their treatment needs, the team feels strongly about local people producing a local health service for local residents.

"It's always a concern, making sure you have the right fit. Making a quick buck is not going to benefit patients. That's why the investors we choose to work with have the same mindset as we do. It's a medium to long-term track and we want to have a patients-first approach, and making sure we are addressing the needs of people here in Atlantic Canada." - Evan Price

Nova Scotia Medical Marijuana

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Mark Hamhuis
Mark Hamhuis