What amazing time we had at the Grow Up conference! We hosted two in-person CANNAtalk events and enjoyed many conversations in our CANNA Lounge overlooking the picturesque North Saskatchewan River in downtown Edmonton. The event was divided into a two part series; the first part was a panel where we brought three premium flower growers to discuss product quality, production planning and accuracy, forecasting and emerging markets. This was followed by Part 2, a CANNA sponsored Grower’s Luncheon the following day where groups discussed important topics such as continual process improvements and industry grading standards.
The Canadian cannabis industry is wrought with intense competition as we continue to be inundated with product for domestic sales. We have also seen as brands start to fail as products lack consistency resulting in a decline in consumer confidence. Producers need to ensure that what was a premium product one batch is consistently that in subsequent batches and if they are not able to achieve this, have different market segments, i.e. value, to move the product that didn’t meet the premium categorization. All the panelists agreed, in order to succeed, it is imperative to have consistency of brand, regardless of where you are playing.
We touched on the notion of international exports and while most panelists acknowledged that these new markets add regulatory complexities while adding costs to the bottom line. Nevertheless, they are still an exciting opportunity which can often bring higher margins offsetting additional costs. That said, these new markets will not be attainable if the need for quality and consistency, we mentioned previously, are not achieved.
With so many looking at export opportunities, does this then bring the need for an industry standard and product grading like other commodities traded around the world? Is the cannabis industry ready for such a thing and how will this affect current production? We dove into this topic with growers and the topic of what process improvement looks like at their respective facilities during the 6th annual CANNA Grower’s Luncheon.
Grading and standardizing the industry were polarizing topics during the conversations around each table. Adding in this level of standardization has the potential to affect both international and domestic trade (B2B) as well as at the retail level for consumers. While some were adamantly opposed to the idea feeling that it could alienate some producers and felt any process would be too subjective, others saw it as a way to level the playing field for all market segments and a must to compete in international markets.
With respect to process improvement, this was a lot less contentious of a subject. A key theme felt by most growers was the use of appropriate measurements and accurate data collection as the main drivers for any process improvement initiative. This, along with prioritizing initiatives, clear communication, team engagement and transparency at all levels is important. Also, not being afraid to bring in a second pair of eyes to help re-evaluate or re-confirm current processes is something that is generally overlooked in the cannabis space, but very common in other agricultural crops.
Check out the images below, and join us next time where we will bring new industry experts to discuss a new topic driven by these conversations. Make sure to subscribe to the CANNAtalk newsletter to stay updated on all the CANNA events & community!
OUR CANNATALK PANEL
Master Grower & Processing Manager
Matthew holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta where he studied Botany, Genetics, and Entomology through the Sciences faculty, as well as Plant Breeding, Plant Pathology, and Agronomy through the Agricultural Sciences faculty. Matthew has been producing medical cannabis full time for over a decade, since the early inception of the ACMPR regulations. Throughout his time of hands-on growing combined with studied learning, Matthew has been practicing breeding genetics under the moniker of “@710Canuck”.
To date, Matthew has successfully curated nine different seed lines that are currently in rotation from various Licence Holders for use in Canada’s adult use market. Matthew is currently the Master Grower and Processing Manager at Edmonton based Palm Gardens Ltd where he has developed an in-house breeding program producing unique proprietary cultivars for the Canadian market.
Master Grower/B2B Sales
Chris Alessandrini is a founding member of Atlas Growers in Edmonton Alberta. He was the Master Grower at the Atlas Site from its inception until about 2 and a half years ago when he moved into more of a B2B sales/Business Development role for the company. He has a Horticultural Diploma from Olds College, specializing in GreenHouse Crop Production and has been growing Cannabis in one capacity or another since around 2007 or the better part of 15 years.
COO & Head of Cultivation at Distinkt Cannabis
One of the founding owners of Distinkt. Steve brings a passion for cannabis cultivation and a commitment to quality above all.
Co-Founder at Haché Kloet Consulting Inc.
Nico has helped pioneer the legalized cannabis industry over the past decade. As Director of Operations for Organigram during its start-up phase, Nico designed and implemented planting, production and security protocols for Canada’s largest vertical cannabis producer.
Subsequently he joined Canada’s foremost cannabis regulatory consulting firm, Cannabis Compliance Inc., as Director of Cultivation and Security Services, a role which he continued to play at Deloitte’s Center for Cannabis. With 2 decades of horticulture experience, Nico has been involved in many process improvement initiatives saving on operational costs, increasing profitability and consistency.
Co-Founder at Haché Kloet Consulting Inc.
Shannon has been developing educational and competency-based training programs for the cannabis industry in Canada since 2015. She had a major role in the design and implementation of Canada’s first university course focusing on the management of medical cannabis production under the MMPR. Using leading edge online technologies along with proven Competency-Based Training methodologies to design and develop programs, she has implemented training both face-to-face and online for thousands of clients in Canada and internationally. She has been Director of Training at Cannabis Compliance Inc. (CCI), Canada’s foremost cannabis regulatory consulting firm and then with Deloitte’s Center for Cannabis. Shannon holds an MEd from Simon Fraser University.
With 3 decades of experience in education and training, including 7 years specifically in the cannabis sector, Shannon has the unique position of being at the forefront of this industry as it has evolved and has seen first-hand how developing people and instilling competence in leading practices not only mitigates risk but propels clients to success.
At CANNA we are passionate about sharing our knowledge and expertise with the community and hope that you are able to take away valuable information to help you and your business GROW!
Our next online CANNAtalk Event will take place over the summer so stay tuned for more details by subscribing to our CANNAtalk community!