The Western Journal 2016 - (Page 22)
The Mechanical Needs
An example of a medical marijuana cultivation facility.
By James Careless
hen it comes to understanding the mechanical
requirements of a medical marijuana growing
facility, the word to focus on is "medical." "Whether the plants are grown in
soil in a greenhouse or under lights in an
indoor hydroponic facility, the production of medical marijuana is more akin
to a pharmaceutical factory than a farm,"
said Eric Paul, CEO and Pharmacist at
CannTrust; a federally-licensed medical
marijuana producer in Vaughan, Ontario.
For mechanical contractors, this
means that a medical marijuana growing
facility (the term "grow-op" has negative
connotations) "has considerably more
cooling and heating requirements than
your average office building," said Garth
Johnstone. He is President and CEO of
Archie Johnstone Heating & Plumbing,
a Nanaimo, B.C. contractor that has built
such facilities for licensed clients. Hence,
when it comes to building such a facility, contractors need to know its specific
requirements, and bid for it accordingly.
Understanding the Facility
As befits a pharmaceutical-grade
grower/manufacturer, a Canadianlicensed medical marijuana operation
has to be a secure, environmentally controlled facility from start to finish.
Although each facility is different -
some are purpose-built buildings/greenhouses while others are in renovated
spaces; some use soil to grow plants while
other use water (hydroponics) - the basic
production process is the same. It starts
with the "mother room," home to the
master marijuana plants that make up
the company's various product strains.
The differences in the strains reflect their
different medical and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) psychoactive qualities, and thus
various uses. For instance, growers produce a strain of marijuana that has very
little THC but is high in cannabidiol (CBD),
which has anti-inflammatory properties.
Clippings are taken from the each of
the mother plants, to grow the facility's
actual crops. These clippings are put into
trays in the "clone room" - because the
plants being grown are clones of their
mother plants - and allowed to develop
roots in its high humidity environment.
This can take 7 to 14 days.
Once the clippings have grown roots,
they are then transferred to "flower
rooms" where the plants are grown to
maturity using nutrient-enriched water
(delivered by irrigation systems) and light
sources. "It usually takes three months
for the plants to reach maturity," said
Terry Roycroft, Founder and President
of Vancouver's Medicinal Cannabis
Resource Centre Inc. (Known as MCRCI,
this is a private organization that guides
patients in the safe, legal use of medical marijuana.) "This is why growers
typically have a series of flower rooms,
allowing them to stagger production on
a monthly basis."
When the marijuana plants are ready,
they are taken to the trimming room for
Mechanical Contractors Associations of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan & Manitoba 2016
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Western Journal 2016
Messages: MCA Canada
Messages: British Columbia
Updates: British Columbia
Good Governance Creates Lasting Value
Medical Marijuana Cultivation: The Mechanical Needs
YYC: Growing to Meet Anticipated Demand
New Product Showcase
Index to Advertisers
The Western Journal 2016