Dycar Pharmaceuticals, the company that is planning to open a commercial medical marijuana facility in Cranbrook, will be answering question and giving an update on its progress on May 25.
Dycar will give an update on where they are with the Health Canada application process and how the plans are coming along for the Cranbrook facility.
On Thursday, Carmen Wannop, Dycar Phamaceuticals vice-president of sales and marketing, spoke to the Daily Townsman about the progress and some of the things that they are preparing for with the venture into this city.
Wannop said things are progressing smoothly with the application.
“We haven’t had any major hiccups yet,” she said.
There are a total of seven steps in the application process from the time Health Canada receives the applications. Dycar is on stage three.
“Actually it’s moving a little faster than we expected, based on what other applicants have said, we are pretty impressed that we are already in stage three,” Wannop noted.
She said that speed could account from their application being especially thorough when it was sent in to Health Canada.
“I know some people sent in an application that was 30 pages — ours was thousands and thousands of pages,” she said. “The more thorough your application is, the less hassle you’re going to have.”
Carmen and her husband Dylen have been designated growers for over 10 years. The old law was the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR) and she agrees with the move to the new regulations.
Carmen was personally involved in the stakeholders meeting with Health Canada in Vancouver back in September, 2011.
“So we knew they were changing the law — which they needed to — because there were too many people breaking the law under the old way,” she said.
Wannop expects to answer questions on the procedure with Health Canada and how far along they are, as well as the jobs that they will be offering once the facility opens.
“As we stated, in the first year of operations there will be 200 full-time positions. Now because of the way we operate we can hire people with disabilities or people with children at home who only want to work part-time,” she said. “It may take me three part-time people to fill one full-time position. There could be more than 200 people employed with us — it’s just that we have 200 full-time positions available.”
She said out of all the people that they’ve met with in Cranbrook, they have only heard from two people against it.
“I’m sure somebody is going to come up to me and say how marijuana is bad for society,” she said. “Those are kind of the words that were used.”
She said they are not there to change anybody’s mind, rather to educate people and let them know how marijuana can be beneficial compared to other pharmaceutical drugs.
“If you change you’re mind in the process, then, hey, I did a good job,” she said.
The whole board of directors will be at the meeting.
Wannop said their company has strongly rooted community values.
“We’re actually a family. For instance our CFO is the father of my soon to be son-in-law,” she said. “Even with our staff, with any business that we’ve owned, it is a family atmosphere. We’re not those big pharmaceutical companies where every employee is just a number, and every patient is just a number.
“We got into it for the compassion reasons, and we will continue to be in it for the compassion reasons.”
She said almost all the correspondence they get from the public has been supportive.
“We’ve had tons and tons of emails and comments posted on the internet about people excited we are coming to town for new jobs, and it’s great to be there,” she said.
Dycar announced the plans earlier this year.
“We’ve been going through this process with the City of Cranbrook for well over a year. We didn’t put the public notice out until February. That was our choice because we didn’t want everyone to go ‘there was this announcement made, why aren’t they here yet?’ We knew how long the process was going to take, so we didn’t want everyone getting excited and then saying, ‘this is never going to happen.’”
She said it is going to happen, and it is not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.
“We literally are at the timeframe of the government right now,” she said. “But we’re hoping that since ours was so thorough it breezes right through with absolutely no problem”
Wannop said their application is one of about a thousand that have gone into Health Canada. Many of those have been denied and many withdrawn once they realize what it takes to set up a facility.
“It’s not just slap up four walls, put some lights in and put some plants in — that’s not what it entails,” she said. “We are scrutinized quite a bit by the government. We are a secured facility. Some of the rules we have to follow are not like a normal employer.”
For instance, the company has to account for every part of the plant that it produces — even the parts that are destroyed.
She also noted that one concern people sometimes have with this type of facility coming into a community is that organized crime will get involved.
“There is no possible way organized crime can get involved in one of these,” she said.
“We have to prove where our money comes from to build the facility. If it’s tainted in any way Health Canada is going to throw your application out.”
She said that was one of the things that stakeholders pushed for when the new regulations were being put together.