Owner hopes ‘canna-complex’ will provide ‘uniquely Canadian experience’
An Ottawa-area man has high hopes to transform a patch of farmland near Carleton Place into a cannabis spa and outdoor grow operation by 2020.
Mark Spear, CEO of Burnstown Farms Cannabis Company, hopes that by 2020 visitors will be able to come for the day or stay overnight at the 20-hectare farm in Beckwith, Ont.
“We want to give them a uniquely Canadian experience in the great outdoors,” Spear said. “We think there is a great synergy between nature and cannabis, and we want to share that with the world.”
Spear, a former employee of Smiths Falls-based Canopy Growth subsidiary Tweed, has grown his own supply of medical marijuana since a serious motorcycle mishap in 2004.
He said the spa will include massage therapy with cannabis oil, cannabis-infused hydrotherapy and yoga.
“I think canna-tourism is going to be huge,” said Todd Bennett, a general labourer and the first full-time employee of Burnstown Farms.
“To have somebody come down from another country to explore the legal market here in Canada and to be able to stay in a spa where they’re able to stay at the farm … be taught how to cook with cannabis and just have a full-on experience of the whole cannabis market.”
Health Canada approval needed
Burnstown Farms is currently in the process of obtaining the Health Canada licence required to grow plants outdoors. The farm has hired two consulting firms to help with the applications, a process Spear described as lengthy and complicated.
“We’re confident we’ll get the licence. It’s just a matter of when,” said Spear, who added the majority of their initial budget will go toward surrounding the property with 2.5-metre fencing and surveillance equipment.
Work at the farm has already begun. Crews were out Friday building a road onto the property, and several swaths of land have been cleared for planting.
The goal is to grow nearly 700 plants per hectare to supply cannabis oil to companies that will sell derivative products such as edibles, which are expected to be legalized in the next year.
“We find that cannabis is a perfect compliment to a spa. It’s very relaxing, it has many wellness and health benefits, so we expect it to be quite popular and more effective than just a regular spa,” Spear said.