A Canadian medical marijuana producer is planning a major expansion at its Saskatoon plant.

CanniMed Therapeutics announced a $10.5 million expansion of its facility southeast of Saskatoon. The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2018. 

President and CEO Brent Zettl told CTV Saskatoon the expansion is in the works so the company can produce more cannabis oil to cater to an international market. 

“As we gear up to get ready for a world that's going to be looking for pharmaceutical-based cannabis products we need to have the capacity ready to go,” Zettl said. 

Cannibis oil contributed to almost 50 per cent of CanniMed's sales last month, according to the company. It produces 10,000 bottles of the oil per month. After the expansion it will have the capacity to produce one million bottles per month. 

“We want to make sure that we've got that oil done correctly for patients,” Zettl said. “It gives us more latitude to make more products, to have the ability to expand it to other different things, and to think in terms of eventuality — getting these products into pharmacies.”

The expansion will also allow CanniMed to produce cannabis oil gel capsules, which should be available by later summer, according to Zettl. 

In a statement Premier Brad Wall said the province supports the expansion. 

“CanniMed is now part of the ongoing legacy that embodies this spirit of creative thinking and diversification so inherent in our province. We welcome this kind of significant investment in Saskatchewan.” 

The project is estimated to create 85 jobs during construction and 25 permanent full-time positions with the company. Zettl said more growth could be coming. 

“This is just the first phase. There's three other phases beyond that. We could expand beyond the scope of that if need be,” he said. 

The expansion announcement comes a week after the federal government announced its plan to legalize recreational marijuana. Zettl told CTV News the company will consider recreational marijuana when the legislation becomes clearer and plans to evaluate the opportunity from a business standpoint. For now, supplying patients with medical marijuana remains the priority, according to Zettl.