The owner of a new pharmaceutical plant in Lindsay that will open in six to eight months, Dr. Ghulam Khan, says he will be focusing on providing local jobs as much as possible which he calls “very good for the community.”
Fleetwood Pharmaceutical Inc., producing medicinal marijuana, will be up and running in two planned phases. In phase one, there will be a retrofit of the old 78,000 square foot Fleetwood plant. In the second phase, a half million square foot greenhouse will also be built. He says when both phases are fully operational it could mean between 550-600 jobs.
In the first phase, only the plants will be carefully grown. Later in the evolution of the company they will do oil extraction and edibles, as well as packaging the final products. So far, he just has licensing for plant cultivation. Eventually he wants to “make medicine for pain, better sleep, and to help with anxiety.”
In a far-reaching interview with The Advocate Khan spoke of his love for this area, having rented cottages in the Kawartha Lakes region many times in the past. Soon he will be buying a cottage on Balsam Lake, given that much of his work will be in Lindsay soon.
In fact, he’s not even sure if he will continue with his practice in Markham once things get underway in Lindsay.
“I’m not sure I’ll keep doing this or not – I’m much more interested in research and development. We want to create more opportunities to help people in pain,” he explains, and this would be a way to reach more people in a meaningful way to help them.
Too often, Khan says, he would observe some of his patients taking “four or five various pills and still not sleeping.”
“So why do we (the medical community) give them these expensive medications” when what seems to work better is cannabis?
“A lot of my patients use it. There are less side effects compared to opioids – cannabis is much safer,” he says.
So far, Khan has received two resumes already – including one woman who had experience working with big cannabis companies. One resume was from Lindsay, the other Peterborough.
“I would prefer if local people can come and work with us,” says Khan, for many reasons, including that it’s good for the local community and better for both the company and the employee if no one has to drive long distances, especially in winter.
The First Jobs
The first phase of jobs will involve careful cultivation of marijuana plants and “minimal training” will be needed for a majority of these jobs.
“We will train people on site,” he says.
The physician says Mayor Andy Letham and Councillor Pat O’Reilly were a big help in making this possible for Lindsay. He has also asked them for help to secure more government funding from various levels of government and investors.
“I need $30-40 million of investment. These big banks are not so willing to fund this (kind of business),” he says.
“I don’t know why, since the government of Canada has fully approved this type of business.”
How the Advocate Will Try to Help
Khan also wants to have a research facility as part of the operation and has already been talking with University of Toronto but will also try to coordinate with Ross Memorial Hospital.
The Advocate suggested coordinating with Fleming College as well, in terms of some of their programming, an idea Khan liked and wholeheartedly embraced.
As part of its community-building mandate, The Advocate will do what it can to assist Khan by creating connections and ideas for cooperation between Fleming College and Fleetwood Pharmaceuticals, so that he can find enough local people.
The Advocate will also put Khan in touch with some local bank executives to discuss possibilities for investment.
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