One of Atlantic Canada's largest cannabis producers - FIGR East in Charlottetown - continues to grow in more ways than one.
FIGR East's Toronto-based parent company FIGR Inc. announced this week that its recreational cannabis products are going to be available for sale in Alberta by private retailers and online through Alberta Cannabis.
"Our entry into Alberta represents a significant opportunity to grow our brand, as it's one of the largest and fastest growing cannabis markets in the country," said Harvey Carroll, president of FIGR Brands Inc., in a press release. "We're looking forward to introducing ourselves to Albertans and showcasing the quality and craftsmanship of cannabis grown by multi-generational Canadian farmers."
This is the latest expansion of FIGR products in Canada, which are now carried in eight provinces - Alberta, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan.
Besides its P.E.I. facility, FIGR's cannabis is also grown in Simcoe, Ont. But the majority of the cannabis supply to these markets is coming from Charlottetown, explained Alex Smith, FIGR East's vice-president of operations. More specifically, the reason that the company is able to supply these markets is the completion of a facility expansion project this year that added added 256,000 square-feet of greenhouse space and 54,000 square-feet of warehouse and processing space to the company's original 24,000 square-foot facility.
"(The expansion has) allowed us to get into those places," he said.
The expansion also increased the P.E.I.'s company's workforce to 160 employees, said Smith.
The president of FIGR East is P.E.I. farmer Edwin Jewell. In 2013, Jewell came up with the idea to grow and supply medical cannabis, which led to the creation of Canada's Island Garden. In 2016, the company was licenced to produce medical marijuana out of the Charlottetown facility in the BioCommons Research Park.
In February 2018, Canada's Island Garden announced that a majority of its shares had been sold to an American company. Canada's Island Garden continues to supply medical cannabis. But the 2018 announcement also launched the recreational cannabis brand FIGR as well as introduced plans for the Charlottetown facility expansion, which at the time was estimated to cost around $35 million.
Smith said the expansion gives FIGR East a licenced capacity to produce 45,000 kilograms of cannabis per year.