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Willy Wonka’s Dream: Growing Weed in a Former Chocolate Factory

Maureen Meehan

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Once a buzzing Hershey’s chocolate factory in Ontario, Canada, this spacious site is now producing something far more potent than candy kisses.

Hershey’s old sugar tanks are now used for watering pot plants.

Tweed Marijuana, Inc., set up last year in a 168,000-square-foot shuttered Hershey plant, quickly became Canada’s first and largest medical marijuana manufacturer to be publicly traded, with investors eagerly jumping on the green bandwagon.

Former CEO and co-founder of Tweed Inc. Chuck Rifici predicted that Canada’s pot industry would blossom into a billion-dollar market, with Tweed leading the way.

“And the fact that it’s a former chocolate factory, I mean, the story writes itself,” he told the Huffington Post. Rafici now works with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party as it undertakes the process of legalizing pot.

Meanwhile, Tweed is taking the lead with five advertised strains—all named after woolen fabrics made popular by fictional characters from the Victorian and Edwardian periods, including Sherlock Holmes.

Tweed’s website ensures Canada’s nearly 40,000 medical pot users, who until recently were prohibited from growing their own, that they are reliable suppliers and will “never run out.” But just in case, they offer customers a $25 coupon code to be used on future orders.

Following Canada’s recent legalization, Tweed recently renewed its license to produce and sell marijuana under Health Canada’s Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR).

“This is an indication that Health Canada has confidence in Tweed’s ability to continue to meet the rigorous production, product quality, and security requirements of the regulatory regime,” said Bruce Linton, current chairman and CEO of Canopy Growth, the parent company of Tweed.

“We’re in the pole position,” Linton told the Ottawa Business Journal. “The race is about to begin.”

Check out a recent photo essay of Tweed’s growing facilities at the ex-chocolate factory from Bloomberg Business.

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