Olds is high on medical marijuana.
A couple of medical cannabis proposals have already been approved by town council and a third company is also sniffing around the town of about 9,100.
Sundial Growers Inc. recently had a revised plan for a second phase including three micro-grow rooms at its 30-acre facility. Sundial is currently constructing a 405,000 square-foot facility in Olds that is expected to be in operation in 2018.
A longtime local company Olds Softgels is also getting into the medical cannabis gel pill business.
Most recently, Crescent Enterprises Inc. is looking at buying land to develop a federally licensed medical marijuana facility.
Olds and District Chamber of Commerce president Ben Stone said the business influx is going over well.
“The community is definitely looking forward to it,” he said on Monday. “It’s been pretty encouraging how the people in town have been reacting to it.”
There is a kind of natural fit in the community, where Olds College has a well-regarded horticulture program.
As well, Olds has one of the fastest high-speed Internet systems available anywhere through its O-Net project.
This budding marijuana boom has promoted the chamber of commerce and Uptowne Olds Committee to co-host a breakfast information meeting on Friday at the Olds Legion.
Medical marijuana will be the big topic but the intent is also to discuss the implications of other economic development opportunities in the community.
One of the recurring concerns of those leery of medical marijuana facilities is the prospect they will attract crime. Stone said those concerns and others will be addressed at the meeting.
In its rezoning application, Crescent Enterprises says it plans to grow marijuana aeroponically without the use of pesticides. Ethanol extraction will be used to make concentrate products.
Security measures will include a perimeter fence monitored by cameras and a security patrol. All medical cannabis will be stored in safes.
Sundial expects to employ 25 at first, increasing to 40 people.
Sundial founder and chief executive officer Stan Swiatek lent his support to Crescent’s project in a letter to council.