MONTREAL -- Cannara Biotech Inc. says it has received a cannabis cultivation licence from Health Canada, allowing it to start growing at its facility in Quebec.

The Montreal-based company says it is building the province's largest indoor cannabis cultivation facility -- about 58,000 square metres, more than three times the size of the Montreal Canadiens' Bell Centre arena.

The operation, which aims to leverage Quebec's low electricity costs, sits about 60 kilometres southeast of the city in Farnham, Que.

Chief operating officer Barry Laxer says cultivation at phase one of the site will begin immediately, with the first harvest expected in the spring. Annual cultivation capacity is estimated at up to 20,000 kilograms, scaling up to 100,000 kilograms by 2022.

Cannara enters the cannabis scene following a period of market growth sparked by legalization that has given way to widespread consolidation as growers face pressure from investors to deliver better financial results.

Other setbacks, such as Ontario's stringent laws around storefront locations, have slowed expansion but left many in the industry hopeful for the future.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 1, 2020.