The fate of what was to be a cannabis production facility in Okanagan Falls is uncertain now that the company that owns the property is selling it.
On June 12, the cannabis company Sunniva announced it has agreed to sell the site for $20 million to the cannabis real-estate investment company, CannaPharmaRx. The deal is scheduled to close on July 5.
The sale is part of Sunniva’s move to focus on its California operations, which includes expanding its sales and distribution infrastructure south of the border, according to CEO Dr. Anthony Holler, who owns the South Okanagan winery, Poplar Grove Winery. The company hopes to have the California site operational sometime between July and September.
“We are directing our efforts and capital resources towards the completion of the Cathedral City facility and the ongoing development of our cannabis brands in California,” Hollar said in the media release.
The same reason was given in May when the company announced it would suspend work at the site.
At the end of May, Sunniva released its first quarter fiscal results, which totaled $14.2 million in revenue — up 175 per cent from the first quarter of last year. A total of $10 million came from sales of branded cannabis products in California.
CEO of CannaPharmaRx Dominic Colvin said buying the property represents the company’s next stage of growth.
“(It) sets the stage for the next step in CannaPharmaRx’s growth strategy to become a significant player in the Canadian cannabis industry while continuing to strive to maximize shareholder value,” Colvin said in the same release.
Ron Obirek, Area D director for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, said he was hopeful there would a positive outcome after the May announcement from the company. He said he was part of the panel that heard from the company in 2018 and found their proposal to be extremely impressive.
“If somebody is going to spend $20 million to take over a strategy that has already been permitted and is in motion — that’s exciting. That’s a lot of money and they need another $100 plus million to finish if you had $20 million you probably wouldn’t spend it if you didn’t have another hundred or so to finish the project.”
The project is good for many reasons, Obirek said, but mostly because of the economic benefits it will bring to the town.
Under Sunniva, the 17-acre facility, which is half built, was to house greenhouses, a production facility and an administrative building. The company had originally planned to invest $124 million in the site and it was estimated to create 220 full-time jobs.