May 23, 2021 - 9:00 AM By: Carli Berry
Way2Grow, located in the Osoyoos industrial park, plans to be cultivating magic mushrooms in Nov. 2021. A South Okanagan cannabis growing facility is hoping to add magic mushroom production this fall.
Way2Grow Biopharma Corp., located in the Osoyoos industrial park at a former RCMP storage site, currently has three cannabis licenses for been growing, cultivating and selling cannabis for medical purposes, according to its website. The company also has a pending application for psilocybin production which will allow the facility to cultivate magic mushrooms for research purposes
Once completed, one building will be used specifically for magic mushrooms with 10,000 square feet to grow the crop which will supply universities, research centres and medical clinics. They also plan to export the mushrooms overseas to Europe, said Jamie Filipuzzi, CEO and founder of W2G. The buildings are sitting on more than an acre of property.
The other main building on site will be used for cannabis cultivation and there's room to expand depending on how the market goes, he said. Tissue culture and micropropagation is conducted in-house and research and science projects will also be conducted for both magic mushrooms and cannabis, he said.
Construction still needs to be done to prepare an interior bay for the magic mushrooms. "As far as I know, we're going to be one of the sooner ones in the actual market space," he said.
In Canada, psychedelics are prohibited unless approved by Health Canada for research purposes. Health Canada has approved some applications including cancer patients for end-of-life distress. It has also granted exemptions to certain health care providers, so they may use mushrooms containing psilocybin for professional training purposes.
W2G isn't the only location in the Southern Interior vying to get into magic mushroom farming. In Princeton, two 10,000-foot buildings in the town's industrial park are being constructed to cultivate and research magic mushrooms. Kelowna’s Mind Cure Health Centre will offer treatments using psilocybin.
Filipuzzi, along with his wife and founder Nikki Filipuzzi, received a letter from Health Canada saying by Nov. 8 they should have their license to produce and cultivate psilocybin for research purposes, he said. “Everybody is getting a Section 56 exemption for research but you need that good organic-made product to start and that’s where we thrive,” he said.
The exemption of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act allows drug use for a medical or scientific purpose, or if it is otherwise in the public interest. The cannabis facility is operational and the first grows will be sent to the medical markets in July. He noted they will also be serving the recreational cannibis market.
Once everything is operational, the facility will employ roughly 50 people, he said.