Business

Aqualitas receives cannabis cultivation licence

Health Canada has granted licences to three Nova Scotia producers

Myrna Gillis, co-founder and CEO of Aqualitas, is excited to receive the cultivation licence.   Yuqian Li

Aqualitas Inc. has received a licence from Health Canada to cultivate medical cannabis, making it the third Nova Scotian company to have this designation.

“We started our morning like the other day, and we got the news that we got the cultivation licence. It is my first inspiring news of this year,” said Myrna Gillis, co-founder and CEO of Aqualitas, who got the news last Friday.

She spent three years trying to get the licence so the news “was a relief.”

“It is a really slow path to grow a business for many companies,” she said. “You need to be patient. Even if we didn’t get that news on Friday, we cannot stop moving on.”

Gillis worked as a labour and employment lawyer for 25 years before starting Aqualitas in 2014. Her team comes from different backgrounds, including medicine, business and law.

“I saw the cannabis industry as a very interesting opportunity,” she said, adding she wants to help those with disabilities who use cannabis as medicine.

“I have interests in disability advocacy … so I changed the course of my career.”

For Gillis, choosing to be a startup entrepreneur at 46 years old is an adventure, rather than a risk. She’s fascinated with the cannabis industry.

“I was really inspired by their ideas about cultivation, marketing and sales,” she said.

The work isn’t over for Gillis, who needs to start planning now that Aqualitas has its cultivation licence.   Yuqian Li

Ahead of country-wide legalization on July 1, the Nova Scotia government announced last month that cannabis will be sold exclusively through NSLC stores and online.

Gillis expects the industry to grow quickly.

“Right now, the total productivity of three companies cannot meet the needs of market,” Gillis said. “It means there are more cannabis companies in the future.”

In Nova Scotia, Breathing Green Solutions, based in Wentworth, and THC Inc, based in Truro, also have licences from Health Canada.

Aqualitas will operate out of a facility in Queens County.