Wentworth-based Breathing Green Solutions Ltd. was the first company in the province to receive a license through Health Canada to produce marijuana. Submitted photo

Flying under the radar of the public, a company in Wentworth has received Health Canada’s first marijuana production license in the province.

Breathing Green Solutions Ltd. was issued the license on Nov. 10, and chairman Bill Sanford said the plan was to stay out of the public eye.

“It was approximately a four-year process for us to get the business plan together, find property, form an initial operations team, and to attract investors,” he said, adding private investors stepping up to the plate was part of the reason the company didn’t need to bring its plans to the public eye.

Sanford was initially approached by a couple of his colleagues who were interested in the industry. He said it was his own experience in terms of operating and funding businesses that lead them to approach him.

“What attracted us to the industry is the new legislation that’s in place, and federal regulations coming in on top of that,” he said. “It opens the industry to a significant number of new players.”

Because the industry will be highly controlled, Sanford said the ticket to the game is a costly one.

“It’s a tough one to enter, but we were able to secure all the resources needed.”

Breathing Green Solutions Ltd. is based in Wentworth, in a former military compound out of the public eye. Sanford said it was an already highly-secured, double-gated facility. With an addition to the already existing facility, the company will have about 35,000 square feet of operation space. Rooftop growing is also a possibility for the company, which also has cameras throughout the property with 24/7 security viewing.

“Inside, it will be built to encompass the best practices of the industry. It will be a pharmaceutical-grade facility,” he said.

Inside, Sanford said the facility will be easy to clean anywhere the product is grown, and the air system is a complex one, filtering any air exiting the facility. The growing space is also temperature controlled.

The license recently issued, he said, doesn’t actually address the growing capacity of the company, but how much final product can be stored on site.

With recreational marijuana legalization not expected until next year, Sanford said their customers will be medical marijuana users throughout Canada.

“We can have customers from all across Canada,” he said. “We can import and export with approval from the federal government, but that’s not something we’re looking at at the moment.”

Sanford said the next stage for the company is to obtain their retail license, which entails growing two crops of marijuana for inspection at an externally licensed lab. That lab, he said, must meet specifications of Health Canada.

“Upon approval from that lab of the product, Health Canada would conduct an audit of our systems,” he said, adding that process could take about six to nine months.

At full production and harvest, Breathing Green Solutions Ltd. will have a workforce of 30 to 40 employees.