Still awaiting the greenlight to begin growing cannabis outdoors, a Southwestern Ontario pot producer has already inked two deals to sell the crop in Alberta and Quebec.
Licensed producer 48North was the first to apply to Health Canada, the federal pot regulator, for an outdoor cultivation licence at its Brantford-area farm after the federal government lifted its ban on outdoor growing last year.
Although 48North is still waiting for final approval to begin its outdoor grow, the company stuck a deal to supply 2,460 kilograms of marijuana from its outdoor farm to the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis, the province’s recreational pot wholesaler.
The supply agreement announced this week is the second of its kind for 48North — the company made a similar deal with Quebec’s cannabis retailer in February — since Canada legalized recreational cannabis in the fall.
“48North is looking forward to delivering high-quality, sun-grown, sustainable and organic cannabis to the Alberta cannabis market,” company co-chief executive Jeannette VanderMarel said in a statement.
“Through today’s historic agreement . . . 48North has taken another meaningful step to respond to the market demand and provide a reliable and environmentally sustainable source of production for Alberta.”
The 40-hectare property outside of Brantford is expected to yield 40,000 kilograms of cannabis annually, grown at a fraction of the cost of marijuana cultivated indoors or in a greenhouse, VanderMarel previously told the Free Press.
VanderMarel, who hails from a family of apple growers, pegged the cost of the outdoor crop at 25 cents a gram compared to $2 in an indoor facility and $1 in a greenhouse.
Health Canada has nearly 200 applications in the queue for licensing outdoor areas, which could be used for cultivation, composting or destruction. It’s believed so far only Good Buds in Salt Spring Island, B.C., has received an outdoor cultivation licence.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking for cannabis companies, including a handful in the London region, hoping to harvest outdoor crops in the fall.
WeedMD has already installed the necessary security requirements — surveillance cameras, perimeter monitoring, access control and intrusion detection and alerts — for its proposed outdoor grow area beside its Strathroy greenhouse operation.
The company has 27,000 clones ready to plant on the 20-hectare plot, which was previously used to grow asparagus, spokesperson Marianella delaBarrera said.
“We’re ready to go. It’s just a matter of waiting for our licence,” she said Friday.
WeedMD’s outdoor cannabis will be used to for extracts and concentrates, and sold as dried flower, DelaBarrera said, noting the company has supply agreements with six provinces and Shoppers Drug Mart.
“There’s definitely a market for it,” she said of outdoor cannabis.
Licensed producer Beleave has applied for an outdoor cultivation licence for its 34-hectare property on Wellington Road, where the company is also renovating a 23,000-square-metre greenhouse.