Test plant

The roots of a non-flowering cannabis test plant are seen at River Green, which uses a hydroponic system that doesn’t require soil.

A group of Thunder Bay investors are now in the medical-grade cannabis production business with a new venture called River Green.

The goal of River Green in the city is to produce premium quality medical cannabis. It’s a challenging thing to do in the cannabis industry, which has been plagued with spoiled product by major licensed growers who can’t match their product to what is stated on their product labels.

“A lot of them (licensed producers) there is over 400 now in Canada, have had a real struggle with growing constant product,” Matt Pearson, River Green’s general manager and principal, told The Chronicle-Journal.

River Green, which received it’s official Health Canada licence in July, puts product quality control as its first priority.

Pearson said many producers cannot control what they are doing, and this is where River Green has the advantage of a master grower with years of experience and a new facility with propriety hydroponic equipment.

The 100,000 square-foot facility — whose location cannot be disclosed for security reasons — will be a 24-hour-a-day venture with growers working on producing numerous strains.

“The passion behind River Green . . . is all about how this plant can be used for the medical community . . . and they need an incredibly clean and constant, quality supply,” said Pearson, who was the former co-owner of Sleeping Giant Brewery.

Independent third-party testing is a big expense for licensed producers — and is another key ingredient to how River Green intends to maintain its quality levels.

To become a licensed producer, companies like River Green must pass rigorous standards.

“That is a massive hurdle for a small company to get over,” said Pearson, who added it’s a new industry with high standards and a strict security protocol.

River Green is currently in the testing phase of growing non-flowering plants but expects to be producing product this month.

Pearson said they will be employing about 40 people “relatively quick” and as the business grows they could employ up to 60 or 65 people with trade level wages and benefits.

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