VIVO expansion in Napanee on pace to more than double cannabis production

When ABcann medicinals first set up shop in Napanee half a decade ago they had 10 employees.

ABcann now a fully owned subsidiary of VIVO Cannabis has grown dramatically.

“We’re at 47 employees currently on just this facility,” said Kelly Schermerhorn who’s responsible for culture and development at the Napanee operation.

READ MORE: ABcann cannabis facility in Napanee in midst of $30 million expansion

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VIVO has expanded at the original site adding more grow rooms that are close to receiving good manufacturing practices certification.

The certification is a necessary step in VIVO’s plans to expand its medical marijuana products into new markets like Europe, according to production lead Ryan Ford.

“Essentially it’s reducing contamination on product, it’s creating a sense of flow,” Ford said. “Basically everything has a purpose, a procedure and can be repeated multiple times to create a consistent product.”

Several hundred yards down the road, VIVO has also purchased a 65-acre parcel of land called the Kimmetts site.

READ MORE: VIVO Cannabis given green light to expand

Four air houses that look similar to a sports dome have been built on the property.

They will add another 86,000 square feet for cannabis production with an anticipated annual yield of 4,000kg.

VIVO is the only company in Canada currently using the air houses to grow marijuana.

The air houses potentially provide the benefits of both indoor and outdoor cultivation.

Climate control inside the houses will allow for a longer grow season says Director of Production Greg Yuristy.

“They’re not necessarily equipped yet to operate all year round, but we can certainly extend the growing season by about a month in the spring and a month in the fall.”

WATCH: (Aug. 1, 2019) Justice minister calls eliminating waiting period for cannabis possession pardons ‘unprecedented’

Yuristy says the houses also provide protection from the elements and insect infestations but don’t have the costs associated with an indoor facility.

“You’re not burning a whole bunch of really expensive lights,” Yuristy explained. “You’re not really running a complicated HVAC system.”

With the air houses just becoming operational Yuristy says they are adapting for the shorter grow season this year.

“We’re going to try and compensate by just increasing the overall number of plants to try and get reasonably close to a yield we would expect with a full years worth of growth.”

The first harvest from the air houses is expected this fall.

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