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Balfour cannabis operation permanently closes

Demise of operation began with whistleblower revealing alleged illegal growing by previous owner

Phoena Holdings Inc., which acquired the remains of cannabis producer CannTrust’s assets after that firm faced charges of illegal growing at its Fenwick facility in 2019, has pulled out entirely of cannabis production.

Facing insolvency, Phoena filed for creditor protection in April. As part of its winding down of operations, the company has now served notice that its cannabis license has been revoked, and that no cannabis remains at its facility at Balfour St. and Hwy 20 in Fenwick.

PelhamToday understands that in a letter to the Town of Pelham dated August 3, the company states that its operations have ceased, and that Health Canada revoked Phoena’s license effective July 28.

"This announcement was really just a formality," Mayor Marvin Junkin tells PelhamToday. "The last harvest was two months ago, and since then the company has entertained a steady stream of interested buyers and tire kickers. Like all others in the town, I am anxious to see the next chapter unfold for this property."

While it is theoretically possible that another cannabis grower could buy the Balfour St. facility, they would not automatically inherit the right to operate, and would face significantly greater hurdles gaining permission to do so today from the Town of Pelham, particularly in comparison to the figurative red carpet rolled out to CannTrust by former Mayor David Augustyn and his council in 2018.

"The challenges posed by the former operators of the facility were well documented," Pelham CAO David Cribbs says.

"No industry should be allowed to operate in a manner that causes neighbours to experience discomfort, misery and the loss of enjoyment of their property.  That said, the loss of employment is also a serious blow."

Cribbs says that those jobs were important to the workers and the families who depend upon them. 

"Hopefully an entrepreneurial individual or corporation can put the property to better use in the future, either with a different product or by operating in such fashion so as not to produce odour.   Niagara’s agricultural community is resourceful and I have no doubt that better times lie ahead for this property."



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Dave Burket

About the Author: Dave Burket

Dave Burket is Editor of PelhamToday. Dave is a veteran writer and editor who has worked in radio, print, and online in the US and Canada for some 40 years.
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