The old Nestle chocolate factory in Chesterville is becoming a marijuana growing facility.

In a press release last Friday Cannabis Wheaton Income Corporation announced they had entered an agreement with IDP Group Incorporated, the owners of the old factory. IDP will run marijuana production through a subsidiary called CannabisCo. Wheaton will be investing $12 million to start the project, which should allow IDP to start operating a 100,000 square foot growing operation. If the initial investment is a success there is another 200,000 square feet of cultivatable space. The current agreement includes an option for Wheaton to expand the operation in two 100,000 square foot phases.

Hamed Asl, a Partner with IDP, says the city lost 300 jobs when Nestle left over a decade ago and they hope to bring economic activity back to the region. Wheaton will receive a minority interest in CannabisCo and 30 per cent of all cannabis, or cannabis products, produced at the facility in exchange for licensing and funding. Wheaton says they expect the first phase of the facility to produce around 7.5 million grams of marijuana a year.