03/27/2017 16:00 EDT | Updated 03/28/2018 01:12 EDT

Marijuana legalization brings opportunity for P.E.I. producer

The Island's only licensed producer of cannabis is hoping the federal governments' move to regulate the sale of marijuana starting July 1, 2018 will present new opportunities for business. 

Canada's Island Garden received its license to grow cannabis last summer, and was certified to sell medicinal marijuana in February of this year. 

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Edwin Jewell, president of Canada's Island Garden said he supports the change.

"Certainly, if you're in the cannabis business that's a positive development for us." 

"It increases the potential customer base and, you know, helps ensure the cannabis consumers are buying is safe."

New Legislation

While Ottawa would license producers, the responsibility for the sale and distribution of cannabis would fall on the provincial governments.

Jewell said that the provinces need to be competitive in their pricing of the product.

"If the provinces expect to be able to sell cannabis, then their taxation and their pricing will have to be in line with what the competition is doing," he said.

"If they price it too high and it's cheaper on the street then that's where people will go."

Effects on business

The new legislation would also allow for households to grow up to four plants, but Jewell doesn't think this will have much of an effect on business.

He compares it to beer or wine being produced by consumers at home. 

"There'll certainly be people who would enjoy to grow their cannabis at home and I think that's great," he said.

"But there's lots of people who will just say 'It's easier to go to the store and buy it than to go through the grief of growing it on my own.'"

Expanding operations

Jewell says Canada's Island Garden is hoping to raise $20 million to expand on-site operations through private investors.

Since becoming a licensed seller he says the company has seen a boost in interest and the coming changes to the federal rules will present even more.

"We have the opportunity to grow our business, to create new jobs and to bring new money into P.E.I.," he said.

"I think it's going to be a great opportunity for Islanders for sure."

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