7ACRES (TIVERTON) - Amazing visit today to 7Acres, the high-end cannabis production facility near Tiverton that is poised to become the region’s second-biggest employer after Bruce Power.
Within a protective compound lined by high fences topped with barbed wire, there will soon be 500 people working in a 350,000 square foot facility producing high-grade cannabis for the burgeoning commercial market.
The 7Acres product will be on shelves from coast to coast in Canada once legal sales begin and the company is now holding job fairs and recruiting with an eye to employing more than 500 people by next June, expanding the retrofitted greenhouse facility by leaps and bounds.
Several things strike a first-time visitor to 7Acres:
- the smell of weed, in various forms, everywhere at a facility that already contains tens of thousands of plants as well as sacks of the excess material being discarded because it has been contaminated by touching the floor or in the production process;
- employees in the facility – and there are 200 already – seem to love their work, talk enthusiastically about what they do and are incredibly young.
- security is extremely tight, with coded card access at all points, security protocols for access to some areas and a very strict regimen for everyone in the facility to wear specialized clothing, hair nets (a politician’s worst nightmare) and foot coverings.
The 7Acres communications specialist Jenny Posthumus set up the tour and also facilitated a lunch hour briefing with 7Acres CEO Ram Davloor and human resources consultant Lorne Lazenby.
The tour included stops in the nursery area where cloned seedlings get their start, the flowering rooms – 10,000 square feet with capacity for 3,000 plants – where plants spend up to 8 weeks in the flowering stage, the drying room where plants are prepared for the final stage of production and a stockroom where box after box of dried and package cannabis await the commercial market. By next June, there will be 25 flowering rooms running full tilt.
The enthusiasm of the employees is infectious. “We’re making history here and it’s pretty cool,’’ frontline manager Hart Cuomo told me, in a climate-controlled flowering room where 3,000 plants are first given 18 hours of light per day, then 12 hours as they begin to flower.
Cuomo’s enthusiasm is shared by CEO Ram Davloor, who is a man on a mission, not just to create a state-of-the-art facility to produce a product that is about to transition from contraband to legal commodity, but also to create an innovative and progressive workplace.
“We are at the real beginning of a very large industry,’’ Davloor said, drawing parallels with the end of prohibition in the 1930s, or the beginning of the nuclear age at the massive Bruce Power nuclear facility that is just a stone’s throw from 7Acres.
Davloor prides himself on fostering a progressive work environment, with decent pay for workers who are now making a significant dent in the local economy.
“This is a company that believes in respect, career growth and community,’’ Davloor said.