Article by Dave Waddell, Windsor Star
After 17 months of retrofitting a plant, navigating licensing requirements and some $13 million later, Peak Processing Solutions is ready to fire up its production lines to produce cannabis infused beverages, lotions and extracts at its Oldcastle plant.
The company becomes one of the few licensed plants in Canada allowed to produce such products after Health Canada issued the required certifications Friday.
“We’ll be shipping product by next month,” said Peak Processing founder/president Gregg Battersby.
“We’re catering to what’s called Cannabis 2.0.
“It’s not the dried flower or pre-rolled product. It’s more complex products.”
The company currently has 20 employees at its 40,000- square foot plant, but will hire another 20 to 30 people over the next 30 to 60 days.
Among the positions Peak is looking to fill are equipment operators, production associates, quality assurance associates and a regulatory affairs manager.
“This is unlike starting up any other business,” said Battersby, a former executive for Jamieson Vitamins and Aphria Medical Cannabis.
“The way the industry is regulated, you have to have your entire building and operation up and ready before you can get licensed. The security clearance was extensive over multiple months.
“Normally you start a business and use the revenues generated to grow the business. This is far riskier.”
Battersby said Peak is expecting its first shipment of cannabis this week. The company is trying to source as much product as possible from Essex and Kent County growers.
Since becoming operational in April, the plant has produced hand sanitizer for a spell and testing its assembly lines by doing ‘placebo’ runs.
“What we’re looking at is where are the gaps in the industry,” Battersby said.
“There’s ample capacity in Canada for cultivation. A lot of these companies are set up to grow and maybe extract the product.
“They’re not set up to package and produce the variety of products that you are permitted to make.
“We’ve really set ourselves up to be a service provider to the market rather than a competitor.”
Battersby expects a good portion of Peak’s business, especially initially, will be in beverages.
The plant will produce cannabis-infused, low-calorie, non-alcoholic drinks with things like seltzer water or juices as the base.
Peak already has three publicly announced contracts with Hamilton’s Collective Arts Brewing, Leamington start-up Blum Beverage Company and Toronto’s Hillstreet Beverage Company.
“We have a number of contracts lined up and more will be coming in the next one to two weeks now that we’ve been given our licensing,” Battersby said.
Battersby said the majority of business is in the Canadian market, but they will also be shipping products to Australia. The U.S. market remains out of reach until the American government makes it legal to ship cannabis products across the border.
Peak will also produce cannabis-infused creams and ointments as well as extracts like shatter, bumble and butter popular with more experienced users of cannabis.
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