Government Confirms that Pineland Forest Nursery will be Going to Pot
The province planted over 13 million trees in 2009 but last year that number shrank to just over 2 million trees.
Feb 26, 2019
The Government of Manitoba has announced that it has reached a deal to sell the Pineland Forest Nursery to a company that plans to turn the reforestation nursery into a for-profit hemp growing operation.
The government is selling the facility near Hadashville for $1.43 million to Botanist Organic Growers Corp and is leasing the land to the company’s British Columbia-based owners. The company says they will be growing hemp, with plans to develop a processing plant to turn the crop into cannabidiol, or CBD oil.
Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires said the closure of Pineland Forest Nursery won't affect reforestation efforts in Manitoba. However, as MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky points out, the reforestation efforts by the government have declined steadily over the past decade.
“The province planted over 13 million trees in 2009. Compare that to last year when they planted just over 2 million trees and it’s pretty clear that planting trees isn’t a priority for this government. It’s sad really that they’re more interested in supporting a for-profit hemp farm than investing in the future of our forests.”
Last year the MGEU started a petition against privatizing the Pineland Forest Nursery and in November 2018 Gawronsky hand-delivered over 1,500 signatures from Manitobans who didn’t want to see the nursery privatized.
Media reports surfaced about a month later, saying that the nursery had been sold and was slated to become a cannabis-growing operation in the new year, but the government wouldn’t confirm the reports or provide any details until their announcement last week.Botanist Organic Growers Corporation says the new facility could eventually employ as many as 200 Manitobans, but it is unknown how many employees of the forest nursery will be hired for the hemp growing operation near Hadashville.