A UBC professor is looking to Comox to create a large-scale cannabis lab.

A UBC professor is looking to Comox to create a large-scale cannabis lab.

Comox cannabis lab takes step forward towards reality

A former Comox Valley resident and current adjunct botany professor at UBC is looking to create a large-scale cannabis science lab in Comox.

Jonathan Page introduced his company – Anandia Labs – to Comox council Wednesday evening, along with a development variance permit application for a facility on the corner of Knight Road and Military Row to be known as a Cannabis Innovation Centre.

Page explained he currently operates a lab at the University of British Columbia that performs quality control testing for licensed cannabis producers. Page is licensed by Health Canada.

“Comox would be a breeding facility,” he explained and added there would be no retail sales, the facility would not be accessible to the public, it would have minimal signage and “an immense” amount of security.

“This is not a wild west free for all,” he said, and added there would also be an air filtration system in place to remove odours.

The main focus of the lab would be breeding cannabis and creating new varieties which are disease resistant and developing new strains for specific medical conditions.

“It’s an attempt to build a world-leading facility and potentially have two dozen employees.”

Comox councillor Russ Arnott inquired about the waste by-product and odour created from the lab, as he noted there are about 250 military homes nearby.

Page explained Health Canada regulation requires the by-product be destroyed, either by incineration or compost; Anandia Labs would aim to have an enclosed composting system.

He said Health Canada requires odour control to “be at the top of the list,” and would employ charcoal filters to minimize any odour.

“We’re not a retail operation and with screening landscaping, we would not have a conspicuous impact on the neighbourhood.”

Arnott noted the possibility of bringing in “high-end jobs to the Valley only bodes well for us.

“I do think in 20 years, we will look back and see that this is a normal thing.”

Council unanimously approved the development variance permit for the application; Mayor Paul Ives was absent from the council meeting.

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