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With sales and operations around the world, one of Canada’s largest licensed producers of cannabis enjoys showing off its Alberta roots.

“We go around the world, meeting with health professionals and showing them what we call the ‘Aurora standard,’” says Aurora Cannabis Inc. Chief Corporate Officer Cam Battley. “More than that, we have brought more diplomats and public officials from around the world to visit our Aurora Sky production facility in Alberta than I can count. Our heart is in Alberta.”

Aurora operates state-of-the-art and highly-automated production facilities in Canada, the European Union and South America and boasts sales and operations in 25 countries worldwide. Aurora has become one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing cannabis companies. What Aurora calls its “Sky Class” operations are modeled after its massive, 800,000-square-foot Aurora Sky production facility, which is located next to Edmonton’s airport. 

“More than half of our global employees ― more than 1,500―are in Alberta,” says Battley. “Our global headquarters are in Edmonton. In terms of Alberta production facilities, we’ve got Aurora Sky, Aurora Mountain near Cremona and Aurora Sun being built in Medicine Hat.” 

Aurora Sun will be twice the size of the Aurora Sky facility ― nearly 1.6 million square feet. 

“We’ll be the largest employer in Medicine Hat,” Battley says.

While Alberta’s deep agricultural heritage attracted Aurora from the beginning, Battley credits the province’s entrepreneurial dynamic for making it a perfect fit for Aurora. 

“Alberta encourages risk-taking, and that’s in our DNA,” he says. “Our founder and CEO Terry Booth isn’t a capital markets guy or a lawyer: he’s an Alberta entrepreneur and we’re so proud of the way he pushed and drove this company to global leadership.”

The risks were certainly present. 

“In 2016, both Terry and another founder, Steve Dobler, put their own money at risk to start Aurora and keep it going. They kept the lights on and the doors open,” says Battley. “It has paid off in spades.”

Alberta as a base for global operations makes a lot of sense, says Battley. Low power costs, low taxes, and the presence of institutes of higher learning mean Aurora has access to the resources it needs.

“We‘ve got the leading plant science and leading clinical research programs in the industry, all based out of Alberta,” he says. “I think it’d be great to see the development of an industry cluster in Alberta, like a centre of excellence, that brings together some large investors, access to capital and higher education and a smoothly operating regulatory environment.”

It just makes sense to do it in Alberta.

“For people who haven’t been to Alberta in a while, it is a cosmopolitan, diverse and a forward-thinking place,” says Battley. “Those qualities exist not just in the big cities, but in the smaller and medium centres across the province. I’m constantly thrilled with the curiosity, the sense of opportunity, the intelligent questions that Albertans present.”
 

 

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