Canada’s cannabis race blossoms

Ontario horticulturist agrees to rent land to a cannabis producer

By Nicholas Van Allen
Writer
Better Farming

WeedMD’s management built the company’s Strathroy facility with the help of Jerry Zakaria, CEO of Perfect Pick Farms.

Zakaria owns 98 acres of land and rents five of them to WeedMD. Soon, this rental arrangement will grow to 12 acres as part of WeedMD’s expansion into cannabis extraction. WeedMD also has an option to buy the other 86 acres.

The Zakaria family has grown produce – including tomatoes, eggplants and peppers – for over 40 years. They also resell products that they buy from other growers.

Zakaria was attracted to the cannabis industry partly because he found “it interesting” and wanted “to help people on another front,” he says to Better Farming.

He wants to give people who need medical help a choice between cannabis and other sometimes debilitating medications. So he partnered with WeedMD.

Cannabis

For Zakaria, cannabis production was a small departure from traditional horticulture. It’s “still growing a plant,” he says, and producers are still “harvesting it and selling it.”

Zakaria used the capital from the rental agreement to expand his farm business. He planted asparagus for the first time and he recently bought a 98-acre apple farm near Delhi. The orchard purchase was natural for him, he adds, because the family always sold apples, so the move to produce them was not too different.

Partnering with WeedMD was a “great decision,” Zakaria says. Overall, it’s been “very exciting.” BF

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