Who is Anandia?
Anandia focuses on the science of cannabis. It was founded in 2013 by Dr. Jonathan Page and Dr. John Coleman who saw the need to support the expanding cannabis industry with better science on testing, genetics, and other technical needs. It has facilities at two sites in Vancouver, and is starting the Cannabis Innovation Centre in Comox in October 2019. Among our staff of 45, we have 33 scientists who are a mix of biochemists, microbiologists, biotechnologists, and geneticists. Nine have PhDs.
Who owns Anandia?
Anandia was a privately-held company that was acquired by Aurora Cannabis Inc. in August 2018. Anandia will remain a separate corporate entity that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Aurora. Aurora is a global leader in cannabis production with facilities across Canada as well as projects in Europe, Australia and South America. More about Aurora at www.auroramj.com.
What does Anandia work on?
We work on a broad range of cannabis science but our two main work areas are testing and breeding of new cultivars. Testing-wise, we provide the full suite of quality assurance tests that Licensed Producers (LPs) are required to perform by Health Canada before they release their product to consumers. We test for potency (THC and CBD equivalents), pesticide residues and other toxins, heavy metals, and moulds and other microbiological contaminants that may pose a risk to people consuming cannabis. Voted the Top Testing Lab in Canada in 2017, we test for Licensed Producers and Licensed Patients across Canada and in other parts of the world.
Anandia also works on cannabis breeding and R&D activities that support the development of new cultivars. We work on genomics and DNA sequencing, trait development, plant tissue culture among other activities.
We love Comox for a number of reasons! The Town of Comox had the foresight to allow cannabis facilities on properties zoned for Aeronautical Industrial use (see Page 61 of Town of Comox Zoning Bylaw 1850 here). Supportive zoning is essential to reduce the uncertainty around planning for cannabis-focused projects. Comox has a regional airport and other transportation connections that make it easy to move staff and materials quickly. Comox is also an amazing place to live and work which makes hiring and retaining staff much easier.
What is the Cannabis Innovation Centre?
The Cannabis Innovation Centre is our name for our new headquarters for Anandia’s plant breeding work. The first phase of the Comox project will consist of a 21,000 square foot greenhouse and a 10,500 header house that will have offices, lab space, meeting rooms, and also house all the mechanical and electrical systems that support the greenhouse. Future phases will likely include more greenhouses, as well as support buildings for indoor propagation, labs, and offices.
What will occur in the greenhouse?
The main focus of the Comox facility is cannabis breeding. Most agricultural crops have had decades (if not centuries) of breeding to develop beneficial traits: think about short-season corn, Honeycrisp apples, mildew resistant tomatoes… Through plant breeding we can improve yields and reduce losses to diseases and pests, reduce use of pesticides, and improve flavour. Cannabis hasn’t received the same attention by plant biologists and plant breeders because of the historic difficulties in obtaining the appropriate licences.
Anandia will be using traditional plant breeding techniques to develop new cultivars (“cultivated varieties”) that have desirable chemistry (not necessarily more potent with higher THC), disease resistance, or traits that improve industrial cultivation practices. We don’t plan on using genetic engineering or other techniques that would produce “genetically modified organisms” (GMOs). We have more than enough potential for crop improvement using conventional breeding techniques.
Will there be public access?
No, the site will be fully fenced, gated, and monitored and there will be no public access as per Health Canada’s security requirements.
How many people will the facility employ?
The first phase will employee 8 to 15 people depending on crop cycles. Some of our staff from Vancouver will be relocating to Comox in 2019. More staff will be hired as the facility expands.
Who is building the facility?
Heatherbrae Builders out of Nanaimo is the General Contractor with sub-contractors from the Comox Valley and other parts of Vancouver Island. The building structure is manufactured in BC using components from Europe. The greenhouse structure will also be manufactured in Europe and assembled on site. The design team of architects and engineers is from Metro Vancouver with involvement from local engineers and environmental staff (civil and geotechnical engineering, environmental, surveying).
Will there be light at night?
The advantage of a greenhouse is that some of the light needs will be provided by the sun during spring, winter, and fall (and even a little during the winter). We will use supplemental lighting from specialized LEDs to grow cannabis year-round. The greenhouse will be equipped with retractable screens that are used to exclude sunlight during parts of the growing cycle (flowering is initiated in cannabis by reducing the amount of daylight they are exposed to). We’ll use the same screens to reduce the amount of light escaping from the greenhouse during evening and night when the LED lights are turned on, particularly during dark nights.
Will it smell?
Cannabis can have a strong smell when growing or being harvested and odour is a concern for many people living near cannabis facilities. We will use two types of filters to remove odour from air leaving the greenhouse and header house: ionizing filters and activated carbon filters. We’ll also monitor odours to increase the number of filters if required.
If you have other specific questions related to Anandia’s new Cannabis Innovation Centre, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.