Trevor: Kirk, you had a panel discussion, this was really cool, I think this is the first time either of us had done more than one person, a Zoom call. And you had three, right? Three plus you.
Kirk: Three plus me. And then and then one went away and then we had two. But no, it's a conversation with three craft growers. Well, craft growers will get into that. This is part of my search to define what craft cannabis is and what the craft industry is and what cannabis, the cannabis industry might look like in the future. So this is a carry on from episode 55 where we talk about craft cannabis with Mr. Greening.
Trevor: OK. And so correct me if I'm wrong. My notes say we had Kieley Beaudry, Earl Oliver, and a friend of the show, Paul Martin.
Kirk: Ya, Paul's back.
Trevor: So Paul and Kieley we've talked to before, not that they're not interesting.
Kirk: Episode 34 for Kieley, Episode S2E8 for Paul and Paul's also got a story that we told about "One Less Nurse”, so one less nurse, surprise he is now attempting to get into the craft; the microgrow business.
Trevor: But tell me a little bit more about Earl. You have a computer science Ph.D..
Kirk: Yeah, yeah, Kieley.
Trevor: So that's that's not. And it's cool. I'm Earl. I'm not making fun of you at all. I just it just amazes me every time we hear the varied backgrounds people come from to and end up in Cannabis.
Kirk: Well, and also the personalities. And we keep seeing this Paul wearing a hat "kind people." They're such kind and what I like most about it, collaborative.
Trevor: yeah, because these guys are theoretically competitors. So the fact that they just want to be together on a call with you was it's pretty cool.
Kirk: Well, and they organized it. I mean, I put the word out and I know that there's other craft guys out there that I said I'd contact you. I'm sure I didn't. This is a series. I want to talk to a series of small growers. I love how, I love how we talk about how we went from the Legacy Market to the to the Craft Legit Business. So I like how now instead of the silver market or the black market, we can call it the Legacy Market. Legacy Growers, I should say, pardon me Kieley, but yeah. But no, I liked it again. And it changed my understanding a little bit more about craft cannabis. Now, I'm also going to make a little dive into, we also talked to another episode coming up where we actually talked to a home grower who gets consulting advice by a homegrown consultant. So you and I have actually been on a on a little bit of an adventure learning about growing cannabis.
Trevor: Yeah, no, it's like everything else, cannabis and endlessly fascinating. So I won't call myself an expert by any stretch, but I feel like I'm getting a little more of a feel on how cannabis works medicinally, sort of from we'll call it from a pharmacist point of view. But the how it's grown still. You know, we've talked to lots of smart people, but that's still way outside my comfort zone. So it's still really interesting to to hear these people talk.
Kirk: Well, let's get into this. But maybe we should introduce ourselves for a change. We never seem to do that.
Trevor: Let's do that before the story.
Kirk: Yeah, OK.
Trevor: My name is Trevor Shewfelt. I'm the pharmacist.
Kirk: And I'm Kirk Nyquist, I'm a Registered Nurse. And we're talking to you about Cannabis and Reefer Medness - The Podcast.
Trevor: That we are. And let's hear you and your panel of craft growers.
Kirk: Yes. Let's hear this and the reason why this important to us as health professionals, is it because this is plant medicine, we are talking to the people that grow the plant. So this is what I like about this and Trevor, as you listen to these people just hear the enthusiasm; hear the pride they have in their plants, this is what I like about talking to growers.
Kieley: Hi, my name is Kieley Beaudry and I am the CEO and co-founder of Parkland Flower. We are a micro cultivation in Alberta. We're just outside of Edmonton. And our first product to market is going to be seeds. We are coming out with three types of seeds, hopefully right before Christmas so great stocking stuffers for those growers in your life.
Kirk: OK, seeds. Fantastic, sir.
Earl: All right. I'm my name's Earl Oliver. I run a small craft cannabis company in Delta, B.C., we sell under the brand name Guomestar Craft Cannabis. We just recently launched our first ever go to market cultivars, Red Congolese, Meat Breath and Comatose Kush. And we're in the middle of harvesting our second crop right now.
Kirk: And Paul.
Paul: Hey, guys I'm Paul Martin. I am currently under contract or working with a group of partners for potential micro-craft license under CannCraft Producers Inc. And we're currently just in the licensing stage. We've had some issues with Municipality, but we are in build process now and build mode and my job with them is lead geneticist, head of genetics and organic S.O.P.
Kirk: So essentially you're all what we consider a craft grower. So, I want to let's just talk about your credentials for a bit here so we can let people know. Kieley, you're also involved with the Alberta Micro Growers Association. Can you talk a little bit about what that does?
Kieley: So I'm the president and founder of the Alberta Cannabis Micro License Association. And that idea and association sort of grew out of a real gap in the marketplace for small craft growers to get together, to share knowledge, to share information, because getting through these processes are really, really difficult. And it's just a building of the community. And what I always say is that we're all really small fish in a really, really big pond. But if we swim together, we can look like a really big fish. So we just we really want to put a little bit more of the power back into the hands of the craft growers so they can command better pricing and a more sustainable business model for their operations.
Kirk: OK, and Earl I know that you're not fully involved, but there's something out there called the B.C. Craft Supply that your grow operations involved with.
Earl: I think you're referring to the B.C. B.C. Craft Supply. Yeah, they yeah. We did sell a crop through them. They were formerly Pasha brands, and their goal was to essentially bring all the legacy growers into the regulated market and they're still pursuing that. Gene Davis is a real go getter on that on that on that agenda. I'm just going to say they sell through Indiva in Ontario, who packages everything and they're bringing Micro on every every month, they seem to be signing a few.
Kirk: And Paul, your group is still pending licenser. You're working with a group of people. It's the Canadian Craft Growers.
Paul: CannaCraftProducers Inc. Yeah, we've been we've been a partnership for about two years now. Going through the entire process. And we've had you know, I'm sure you guys can vouch there's been snags along the way. We had to fight municipalities, and the other things that kind of popped up. But happy to say that we are finally in build mode and we're getting there. But for us to give a timeline yet at this point, I wouldn't even just because of you know, we just never know what's going on with Health Canada and how long the process will take. But by trade, I'm a trade. I'm a registered nurse. Palliative care. For almost ten years, I left the profession, most of the cannabis advocate for quite some time and a legacy grower and genetic collector for almost probably 15 to 20 years. So, OK, lots of lots to learn still with the micro, but definitely bring some skill sets with myself.
Paul: Now, it's safe to say that all three of you have been growing cannabis yourselves for a while under the medicinal licenses that you had as individuals is that a fair comment/
Earl: No, not me, this is literally my... I'm actually a computer scientist. A Ph.D in computer science. I build systems for a living. I came in as an investor and in the company. Like many Canadians who invested in cannabis, you know, I lost a ton of money. I was really looking for a project. I like I like building things. So I sort of rolled up my sleeves and took on this project. And three years later, we're licensed and have a great facility growing great product. And that's my story. I'm a bit of a bit of an anomaly.
Kirk: That's it, but it's interesting. That's why I have all three.
Earl: Now that I in it though, you know like, I really love, I really love growing cannabis. It's like even if you don't smoke it like you, it's easy to fall in love with the plant.
Kirk: I can see it in all your faces. You're all just glowing.
Earl: I personally smell of cannabis right now. We are harvesting.
Kirk: You're harvesting. Yeah. So do you refer to them as the girls, how the girls doing?
Earl: The ladies. They're all female. So, yeah know,.
Kirk: We hope well unless, but I guess.
Kieley: Not in my facility. I got some boys in here. We have some boys actually growing right now. And, you know, it's interesting. And I also didn't start out as a cannabis grower. I mean, I played with cannabis growing when I was in university. We all had to grow in our basement because we smoked more cannabis then than we could afford. We figured we'd pull our money in and grow. But I'm more of a maker. And from the last podcast that we did together, I take the raw cannabis or the extracts and I make it into other products, mainly women focused, also patient, focused on patients that are in palliative care or have cancer or epilepsy. I've worked with quite a few patients over the years in the legacy side. And yeah, we kind of gave that all up right before legalization. So we didn't risk our license and started working towards getting this micro cultivation so we could control the type of cannabis that we wanted to grow. Because eventually we I do want to produce my own products, not just not just grow cannabis and sell it for bulk.
Kirk: OK, yeah, right now you are growing seeds. You are not growing flower that you're going to be selling to the market. You're going to be selling seeds.
Kieley: We're doing both. We're doing both. We have flower going right now as well. Yeah. We well with the micro license, we are immediately allowed to sell plants and seeds to anybody that holds a provincial retail license. So this was just a way that we could get to the market without going through the processing or going through another licensed producer. And it's something that we know. My grower, you know, he's been growing for twenty-five years. MMAR grower, his mentor was a grower for 40 years, collected genetics for years. And then we also have a partnership with a breeding company right here in Edmonton. We connected with them shortly before we got licensed. And we're able to bring a ton of their genetics on too, which was just a really amazing partnership. And so we've got some really interesting things coming up. Some auto flowers coming up in the spring for outdoor growers. We're really excited to release those. I think that it's going to be something that the market is really looking for right now, and there just doesn't seem to be access to it on the legal side under Health Canada's regulation
Kirk: So you are growing in pods correct, you have separate pods for your flowering and also for your seeds I guess.
Kieley: Yeah. So we have eight rooms. We have eight separate rooms, all self-contained. And so we're able to we're able to do a lot of different cultivars separately and breed them separately, which is a huge advantage for us.
Paul: And Paul, I'm going to let you speak in a second, but are you also growing in more than one room or are you growing?
Earl: We're actually a Standard License holder. But at present, we're the same size in terms of a micro. We have two 1000 square foot rooms. At forty by forty-two in each room.
Kirk: OK, and Paul, how are you. Because I know you also do seeds do you not.
Paul: Yeah. Like I said, legacy grower. We've been myself personally, been making seeds, breeding since probably five years and so a solid twelve years of breeding and our group is made up of some pretty well-known contributors to cannabis historically and just genetics. I could probably list twenty off the top of my head that we have access to the actual the actual breeder and their stock as well. And I think Kieley has nailed it. I think once this market gets saturated with good growers and good cannabis, the only thing that's going to set you apart in this industry is going to be your genetics and not just what you can bring in from elite genetics from across the globe, but more so what you're going to create in your own facility and make your own elite genetics, which will set you apart from your competition. But I think the real real pathway to go here is focusing on genetics. I think, like I said, once the market gets saturated with good growers, which it's going to I think that’s when, genetics are going to be the real steel and the real thing to bet on to have success in the in the market. That's a long term.
Kirk: OK, and please go ahead.
Kieley: Oh, I was just going and bit and just say, you know, what's fun about being added into this scale, like it's just so much more interesting to see the plant characteristics and being able to really differentiate which ones are how do they smell? What are the Terpenes like and partnering with testing facility to test the Terpenes and all that kind of stuff is it's just been super fascinating. And I just love science and the genetics and the biology of it all. And it just really kind of I don't know, it's just fun. It's like a creative, it's like creative. And you get to choose what you like and what you love about that plant and even just figuring out if it's going to grow better, outdoor or indoor. All of those types of features we're looking at. So, and Paul, I'm sure these are all things that you're so familiar with over the years of growing.
Kirk: So, I need to just understand a little bit about the process. Cannabis is so highly regulated, you know, and we know about the licensed producers. We got standard licenses. We got micro licenses. Which one of you are prepared to explain to me how this works and how does one get the experience to grow in this in this environment, like to have these resources. I imagine ACMPR allows you to practice and grow when you're growing. But how do you build something at this scale when that's so restrictive who can grow and who can't. Who would like to explain their story, how they got around. Earl, you want to start.
Earl: Well and I have a master grower. His name's Mike. He's been growing for 12 years. So, part of getting a licensed operation going is building a team and maintaining them and keeping them happy. And that's also a destination under the license. He is the designated master grower. In terms of getting the license. That is an incredibly, loaded question. It's incredibly capital intensive. The regulatory burden is immense. Security clearances are a nightmare. Our company for a variety of reasons, it took them over six years to get a license. They applied in late 2013. And the primary reason that it took so long was security clearance related, that we had some personnel issues. Health Canada, the way that they do it is they basically outsource the security clearance process to the RCMP. So, to Health Canada, the security clearance is a black box until the RCMP come back with that with a cleared screening Health Canada doesn't know. So, in our case, six years went by.
Kirk: So how do you grow and sort of look at your genetics when you don't necessarily have the license to grow yet?
Earl: Oh, well, in our case, all of our genetics, all of our starting materials that we brought into our licensed operation came in through an ACMPR. A major investor in our company who is also a breeder. About two thirds of our genetics are proprietary that he bred. So ACMPR tend to be your playground just because you can't really do, you can do a lot under a normal license but in terms of like R&D and product testing, being able to actually smoke your new genetics, you can't do you can't do in the licensing system unless you have an R&D license. So we rely heavily on the medical that personal medical grow side to do experimentation.
Paul: That's kind of what we did. We are going legal. All of our partners, not all of our partners, a big group of our partners are just that. We are long term MMAR growers who made the switch to ACMPR. Some of us are just, I was a Legacy Grower; never was legal, until I had my run in with the law, and then, Kirk you know, I had to get legal. I always wanted to but the opportunity came head. Like you said, it's a playground, we get to do a lot of really good R&D work for our friends, our future colleagues. It's just great and its that partnership that we hope we can all meet in the middle and then do what we're all here for. And that's just put out absolutely amazing cannabis.
Kirk: And can I make an assumption, that the whole term gifting, one of the things in the cannabis regulations and laws is that we're allowed to gift. That's why last Christmas, so many people got cannabis for Christmas gifts instead of booze. So so, again, what I hear you're saying is that your investors, your ACMPR, your MMAR, those investors are gifting those seeds and those genetics to you so that when you start your legal business, you can say that you have a product.
Paul: You have a declaration, does someone want to explain the declaration.
Earl: Yeah, yeah, so under the under the Cannabis Act and specifically the Cannabis Regulations, Section 10, Subsection Two, there is sort of a one time, don't ask, don't tell policy where you can bring in. You declare in advance the number of plants and number of seeds and they don't ask and we don't tell where they came from.
Kirk: It's not interesting. This is how we order
Earl: So, this is literally, like with our company, like on the eve, like we got a license on January 31, we had we had a pick-up truck and drop off genetics. Yeah. He just basically, we had the loading bay door open and he drove in. A bloody pickup truck with a tarp over some plants and they came in that day. Thirty-nine plants for 37 different cultivars.
Kieley: We had a little bit of a different path to our declaration in that we had our ACMPR license in one room of our like in our facility. So, we were keeping all our moms going and some veg plants, not a lot because we'd have to kill plants off because we were afraid that we'd be, if we went into flower and then got licensed, we'd have to destroy all these plants. So, you put all of this energy like electric, you're running electricity, nutrients, all of these types of things which cost a lot of money and we were trying to keep our costs really low. So we were just keeping enough going to keep all of our moms going. And then we were delayed ten months. So when our license dropped, everything was in the facility. Then we had to make sure that we had our CRA license. And now we were really ahead. I made sure we were really ahead of that. I had had multiple conversations with the Canada Revenue Agency because you do not have the CRA license, you cannot flip your genetics, you cannot flip your plants into flower. So you have to have both licenses in order to start flipping. So we luckily we were able to get our license that morning and then that afternoon we had our CRA license and then we were able to begin propagating our genetics out and getting them getting them going. And another thing that some people don't realize is that you're not supposed to like you can't have all your rooms filled up with veg plants and then flip them to a flower. That's a no no. And people don't realize that. I think it's more of a slap on the wrist, really. You have to propagate your plants out. They have to have that traceability of those plants in your facility. You're propagating them out in your facility from your starting material. You have to be able to trace that from seed or clone, right, all the way through. So, that's where some, you know, some standards and some micro have gotten hung up on that as well in thinking that they could have all their rooms full of veg plants and just flip them. But that's not the case and it's very much frowned upon. It's unfortunate because that would really, after being delayed for so long, that would make a huge difference just in time. Right? I mean, it cuts two to four weeks off of your of your get to market. But Health Canada does frown upon flipping veg plants to flower. They want you to be propagating right from the start.
Kirk: Interesting. So Earl, it took two years for you. Kieley, how long did it take for you?
Kieley: It took us from the time we submitted our license or from construction.
Kirk: Well, just when you said I want to be a commercial. Submit the application.
Kieley: When I said I mean, we incorporated our company back into 2018 and then we had the rigmarole of flipping, you know, we had to we had to work with the municipality. What Paul was going through there earlier. Cannabis was not allowed, production was not, it was only allowed in one zone in our area which really limited the land or buildings or anything like that. So we work with them first. And that was back in January of 2019. And then we built our facility. Started that in October, October 1st. We sent in our license application November 22 and then we were licensed August 14th, 2020. So we had about an 11 month wait.
Kirk: But you really got ahead of things like you got yourself ready so when the license, then you flip the post to OK. And Paul where are you at.
Kieley: We were ready for a long time. It was good. Sorry.
Kirk: Paul, where are you at this moment?
Paul: Like I said, we're just approaching year two. So, I mean, like it started up with a vision. We have to get everybody together. That took a little time. And then we got all our kind of our partners in place and treated our vision. And then like the one nice thing we have going is as much as we are in a rush to hit market, there's not a dire rush for us to get there. We are in kind of a position where everybody's comfortable and we've kind of all prepared ourselves for this real long-winded fight and licensing process, and so in that sense, we kind of were expecting this. And like I said, we're lucky again that the partners who are investing, our investment back up are very patient as well. And no one's really push, push, rush, rush. So we're expecting hopefully in 18 months we have some really good news. But I mean, if it was two years at this point, I would not really be that surprised to actually have something or some sort of processing license that allows us to go to market. Yet, I mean, there's so much changing all the time. And I'm not really the guy that understands all the licensing part because it's quite confusing to me. But I know we're still a ways away just because of the actual process.
Earl: Have you built your facility, Paul?
Paul: We had like I said, there was a bunch of fights with the municipalities and we were kind of put on hold for a while. We had existing property you were going to convert. And just the way the fight went and the way things ended up going, we ended up just deciding once the municipality gave us kind of what we needed, we just decided to build new. So they're in the process now of just I think they got all the floor in and now they're just trying to build as fast as we can through the winter before the snow flies. But I don't even know how that's looking. With Corona, like it's just it's a different time too. So it's crazy.
Kirk: How many rooms are you planning on having, Paul?
Paul: You're asking me the worst questions because I've seen the blueprints a couple of times. And I mean, we're going to start small that's the idea, like we just want to get in and we want to have a slow start, comfortable start and not get too big, too quick. We never want to be a big player. We just want to consistently put out like the highest quality craft cannabis and the rarest genetics.
Kirk: That's a good segue. Let's talk about what craft cannabis is. So from Health Canada's perspective, what do they define as a micro grow?
Kieley: I can jump in here. That's basically any cultivation facility that has two hundred square meters or less of plant canopy. So that's twenty-one x fifty-three square feet. Anything above that is considered a standard. But that doesn't define craft.
Kirk: Well, we're going to get to that. So it doesn't matter how many rooms you have. It's the space of greenery of the canopy.
Kieley: And that includes your vertical footprint. So if you are stacking cannabis on top of each other, so in your vegetation rooms, if you're on racking and you've got your clones racked, you have to count all three levels. You can't you can't just say, oh, it's just this footprint. You have to count all three, or however our however many levels you have.
Kirk: He space basically how much, how much cannabis growing.
Kieley: It's your light footprint basically it's wherever your lights are.
Kirk: OK, all right. So let's now that's just segue right into what I asked you here today. Let's define craft cannabis. I don't know if you listen to the episode we did a couple of weeks back with Mr. Greening, and that's a local craft guy here. So what is your opinion? What is what's craft cannabis, guys? Paul, we'll start with you.
Paul: That's such a loaded question too. This causes fights.
Kirk: But it's meant to be like, can you define it like a Craft beer?
Paul: To me? And I'll just lead with, to me, doing this for a very long time and still having lots of space to improve obviously, and you know, having the luck of having to experience and getting to experience some of the rarest cannabis strains in the world, having friends that have been breeding cannabis strains for decades and have actually had an imprint on our Canadian historical genetic game. Craft cannabis, to me comes down to I mean, #1 quality. I think craft cannabis is usually produced on a smaller scale. I think that's the one thing we can kind of all agree is that the larger scale and all the automated systems and all the new flash tech, no matter how big it is and how was supposed to put out the best, it rarely does. I think craft comes down to small craft growers, who can give plant to plant attention to detail on a daily basis. And it comes down to really, I think also the genetics that are being put forth. But I think the two pillars, the two main pillars are quality and then I think just the genetics themselves. So, I mean, it's just small-scale produce cannabis by really good growers who live and breathe this profession. I mean, it just comes down to that quality level that which we have not seen yet. We're getting there, but we just haven't seen it yet. And I also took one last thing, as I think really as we see things go on, I think we were talking about really hit a pinnacle where everyone's producing really good cannabis. I think it's going to now come down to the methods of how cannabis is produced. And I think we're going to see a big shift into we all hope and that's sustainable practices and more organic production style, where I think there's no denying the best cannabis on earth is sun grown organic, probiotic grown cannabis, and there's any denying that. But I think the next thing we can do other than the sun grown is indoor organic probiotic cannabis by a proper grower who knows his stuff and I'll leave it there.
Earl: That's a good topic to push back on. So, you know, to me craft cannabis is about attention to detail. You know, saying that I agree with all that mentions of quality. It's producing a product that is objectively as well as subjectively superior to everything else. You're chasing an unattainable goal of just producing a perfect product. And to do that, going back to attention to detail, you have to hand harvest; hanging dry to ensure that moisture drop slowly; hand trim and just ensure that the customer, when they receive the product, is getting something that you would be proud to serve them. And, you know, a big, big part of it is also the community behind it and being transparent with your customer and being accountable to them. And these are the things that are important to our company and to me personally. And that's craft in my mind.
Kieley: And Craft cannabis for me, something my grower has always said is that the best fertilizer for your plants and for your grow is a shadow of the grower. And you just to expand on Paul's, it that attention to detail. But I think it's also about, you know, it's not just about sustainability within your grow and within how you grow the cannabis. It's also about how it gets out to consumers, because if we're looking at it from a sustainability aspect, you know, the way we work in the legacy market is that our craft cannabis went to our local communities and it didn't travel four thousand kilometers across the country and back again because it has to be processed in someone else's facility and then brought back to our province to be sold or even sold in another province. It's about having that that product fresh, reducing that I mean, cannabis just bouncing in a truck across the country, you know, to get processed and then and bounced across the country again, completely defeats the purpose.
Kirk: Is that happening?
Kieley: Absolutely. Earl, where did your product, where did your first batch go?
Earl: Our Meat Breath, I mean, we sold through BC Craft Supply and our Meat Breath was shipped to Indiva in London, Ontario.
Kirk: To do what with.
Earl: They packaged it.
Kieley: They put it in containers.
Kirk: So, you cut it and you dry it and then.
Earl: We dry it, we trim it and we cure it for 30 days.
Earl: And that be because we're newly licensed, we don't have sales authorization on our processing license. That's a whole other regulatory nightmare that we could we could, Kieley and I especially, could complain about that all day long. So we, we have a processing license. We are authorized to package product. We are not authorized to sell our packaged product. It's ridiculous. So unfortunately, well, we have great packaging partners, like Shelter and Indiva are fantastic. They did a great job, both of them. But we have to we have to sell through another processor who has sales authorization.
Kirk: Is that a BC thing or is that a Health Canada thing?
Earl: Health Canada, That's a federal thing.
Paul: Hey guys, do you by chance, I'm just curious. I know our large LPs are doing this, but are you guys also irradiating.
Kieley: Often times the because the liability sits with the licensed processor, they will require it. As a vendor qualification. So, yeah, whatever their process is, is what you have to go with.
Paul: Do you see that, do you see that going away at any point.
Kieley: If health, Not right now. Not unless Health Canada changes the microbial requirements and limits on that. I mean a lot of companies, I mean, they've had recalls of cannabis that's gone moldy and it might have tested fine for microbial. And then it gets to a consumer or it gets to the processor or whatnot and now it's covered in mold. So as much as it's you know, the jury's out so far on.
Paul: It can't be the future. It can't be our future. It cannot be.
Kieley: And that's a part of what I'm saying is that this the cannabis should be picked up by the consumer right from our farm.
Kieley: Farm gate. That is, THAT is.
Kieley and Paul: That's Craft Cannabis!
Paul: Thank You Thank you, nailed it!
Kieley: To me that, and that is we're working towards like the ACMLA, I mean, we are really pushing hard to say, hey, look, we want to improve the quality because, you know, our product is sitting on our shelf, right in our vault waiting for SKU to be approved by AGLC or whoever whatever province is sitting there waiting for approval first. Then it gets picked up, it gets distributed, and then it sits in another warehouse for who knows how long. Then it gets ordered. Then it's then it's sent again. And then it could sit in a retailer's vault for who knows how long before it gets put out on the shelf. So you've got all of these check points that I, quite frankly, reduce the craft side of that cannabis. And that's where farm gate and allowing micro cultivators to sell. We're talking about putting cannabis in a bag. We all did it. We all did it for years. No one died. You know, everyone was fine. Everybody smoked awesome weed because it was smoked before it had a chance to get moldy. So this you know, this is the this is the things that we're kind of dealing with here. And, you know, I get Health Canada's mandate is to provide a safe product. I agree. But at the same time, we need to realize that at scale they're going to have a lot more troubles with microbials and trying to keep powdery mildew and things like that under control. We simply don't have the same kind of challenges that those types of scale growers have. And so we should be treated accordingly with the same level of risk.
Paul: Kirk you just got the perfect answer.
Earl: I would add that if you're able to as a as a small grower, if you're able to really control your environment, you keep the humidity down and have a dry room that's set up to properly bring it down slowly, it's easy to pass your microbials. I am confident, Kieley will pass her's.
Paul: Our ACMPR growers get test regularly too, like we do and we get cleared.
Earl: All three of our go to market batches passed microbial.
Paul: I've got stuff to do.
Kirk: OK, ok thanks Paul.
Paul: Follow me on Instagram. I friended you guys today, just so we can stay friends.
Kieley: What are you on Instagram.
Kieley: OK, sounds good.
Paul: Hopefully rubbing shoulders in a while. see you guys.
Kirk: So we ended the conversation talking a little bit about craft cannabis. Kieley, fantastic. Here's a question for you. Can you equate craft beer to craft cannabis? When you look at the big boys, can Molsen's make craft beer, OK? Can the large LPs make craft cannabis.
Kieley: No, I like they can grow a high quality, high THC, high Terpene product that's mass produced. And you know, they, there are some large licensed producers that have produced some pretty good cannabis. I'm not going to discredit that. I think the essence of it's not just about the product, it's about the handling of the product. And I think it's truly about especially the handling of the product once it's grown, because I think that's where some of the larger licensed producers have fallen down. When you are mass producing, you're mass harvesting, lots of times they they're drawing on racks as opposed to hand drying. The curing process oftentimes they're trying to get it out the door for a real proper cure has happened. And so, yeah, it's I think they'll get there. They'll get to a higher quality product. But I think the difference is even just the story. Like the story behind these small producers and they resonate in their communities. So, if you take someone like Alley Cat here in Alberta, which has a pretty they're a pretty big craft brewer now, but they were bought by a larger beer company. But when they started out, they were they were small and they built a brand in their community. That brand ballooned to the other communities around them and then they got the attention of a larger producer and again then their brand was bought. Now I think there was there are some other things in there. They were very particular about who would buy them and things like that. Even looking at something like Burt's Bees. Burt's Bees was this little small producer of craft handmade cosmetics. And then they ended up getting bought out by a larger cosmetics company. And I'm not saying that it changed, but are the values of a change. But now you're looking at more of a mass-produced product that the prices come down, your economies of scale are different. And I think really what people are looking for these days, they're wondering, they want to know where my product was produced, who produced it, what were the inputs, how was it grown. And I think the only way you can do that is, is by being close to your community and being a part of your community. You know, with my product goes to market, I honestly have no idea where it's going to go right now. I don't know if it's going to be in Alberta. I don't know if it's going to be sold in Ontario. I don't know if it's going to be sold in B.C.. I would love for it to stay in Alberta. I would love for it to stay within one-hundred-kilometer radius of my facility. But even within the provincial regulations, my cannabis could end up in Fort McMurray and most of it could end up in Calgary, for all I know. So, it's and that's just because of the current regulatory framework that is in place that that puts those barriers up. That really makes it difficult for us to feel that within our community, like all of my friends are in the area, are like, oh, I can't wait for your product to come out. Like, when's it coming out? When's it coming out? And when I'm going to when it comes out and it goes to a different province, they're going to be super disappointed.
Kirk: You can't sell direct.
Kieley: I cannot sell direct. I don't have a processing license and I don't have a sales authorization.
Kirk: So Saskatchewan has a different system than Manitoba. What I learned in Manitoba is that our guys sell to the Manitoba government and then it just gets disputed that way. Is that the same as Albert?
Kieley: Same as Alberta? Yeah. Yeah. You sell to the provincial distributor, but no one no one can sell to a provincial distributor or a retail distributor like directly like in Saskatchewan without a processing license and a sales authorization.
Kirk: Interesting. So you can.
Earl: Unless you are doing plants or seeds.
Kieley: Unless you're doing plants or seeds. Yes. Dried flower and anything above. So dried flower, pre-rolls and 2.0 Products, extracts and things like that, you can you cannot sell without a sales authorization.
Kirk: So like, like a craft brewer, I can have a restaurant, I have a craft brewery in my back and I can sell my craft beer in my bar. You can't sell your cannabis outside your gate.
Kieley: I cannot.
Kirk: Is that Coming?
Kieley: I'm working on it, we're working on it.
Earl: That's a good question. In B.C., the NDP, who we just got a majority, they, they promised by 2022 that we would have farm gate. And if you can do farm gate, I'm in BC Kieley's in Alberta, and in B.C. if we could do farm gate we will be able to sell direct assuming we have our sales authorization on our processing license. So we can put the weed in that container and put an excise stamp on it and, and now are authorized to sell it, we will be able to then sell direct to the consumer.
Kirk: Well, one thing you did for me today or you explain to me why I got I got this brand here. Yeah, it's Broken Coast. I like I like the product. It's consistent for me. But I was looking at it. It was packaged or was it grown January 28, 2020. I got this two weeks ago.
Earl: Yeah, yeah.
Kieley: And there's no it, we don't know if it was harvested that date.
Kirk: or bottled that date.
Kieley: Yeah. So it doesn't say on it.
Earl: So the provinces, you know they're new at this game. Some provinces are better than other provinces but there's a, where are you Kirk.
Kirk: You were in Manitoba. Yeah.
Earl: OK, so you're I mean I can't speak to what Manitoba is doing, but they may they may not have had demand for Broken Coast. They may have already had supply. So, until they sell out of everything that has already been sold to them. And then they reissue another call for product to Broken Coast.
Kirk: I think they got this from Shoppers Drug Mart.
Kieley: OK, well, that's not a retail, so you got that through the medical stream.
Kirk: Yes, that's yeah. Yeah.
Kirk: So that's still a long time.
Earl: And that's in plastic.
Kirk: Yeah. Yeah.
Kieley: And most plastics, most plastics will absorb your Terpene and they will. And then they're not, they don't, they're not as airtight.
Kirk: So is that why when I was in British Columbia, a year and a half ago, the cannabis that I was seeing was coming in foil packages. It was like much less footprint, but is so.
Kieley: It depends on the producer. This depends on what they choose to put their cannabis product in.
Earl: Our stuff is sold in glass jars.
Kirk: Glass Jars?
Earl: yeah, Shelter, so the company who packages our product is Shelter. They're based out of Macklin, Saskatchewan, and they put our product in glass jars to maintain the moisture.
Kirk: OK, but you have to be transported there. So you're transport there in glass jars, too, I imagine.
Earl: No, no. We transport it in roughly a one kilogram. So, you know, we're not packaging it. So I send them roughly a one kilogram bag. It's sealed. And it's so basically the product is still curing in that bag. And when we transported, everything is temperature controlled. So the quality is maintained to the best degree that we can. And then they break, they open the bags and then package it into three and a half gram. They hand package to again ensure the quality of our craft product. Then they will then ship it back to wherever.
Kirk: I find it interesting as I'm learning more and more about growing cannabis. And I can see your passion in it. But one thing I've learned is once you harvest it, it becomes very fragile after that. I mean, hanging it. Everything's fragile.
Earl: Yeah. The biggest differentiator, back to your original, your previous question regarding the sort of big cannabis versus small craft cannabis is is almost, you know, I would say almost entirely actually post-harvest. Like Kieley and I toured Aurora Sky back in February and the plants in there, 300,000 square foot room were beautiful.
Kieley: They were healthy looking plants.
Earl: Yeah, they were great plants. They had nice big buds on them. And you're Aurora and you've got literally billions. You can genetically engineer plants to have less sugar leaf and all kinds of really neat things. Their plants are beautiful, like I'll give them that. And I took photos and they're great. Like, I'd be proud to grow those plants. But when you're at that scale, when you have 300,000 square feet of flower, how do you process that? You can't you can't hang dry it. You just you have to have another gigantic facility to hang dry it. And, you know, so they.
Kieley: They take the bud off the plants and then they put it on racks to dry. But then the curing doesn't happen. Like they're not going to go in and burp, you know that hundreds and thousands of kilograms of cannabis, it's just so labor intensive. It just does not make sense at that kind of scale. And so that's the difference with craft, is we're going to be putting it in either seed vaults or however it is that we're going to cure proprietary. So, I can't give too much away. But, you know, however it is that we cure, it's a hands on. It is labor intensive. It's a hands on. You have to be in there every single day in your vault burping these, you know, the whatever containers it is and then making sure that you're checking on a daily and you just simply can't do that at that scale. That's like they just have not figured. I'm not saying it can't be done. I'm just saying they haven't achieved it yet.
Kirk: So what does the burping do? What does the curing do to the flower? Like you hang it and you hang dry so that it's loose and it's not resting, I take it. So it's loose and it's and you put it in a well ventilated what is curing do? What does it do?
Kieley: Well, curing it when you put it in, when you put it in the jars, it's off gassing moisture. Right. So, what, you're doing it slowly as opposed to win when it's hanging and drying your drying at a lot, about 60 percent humidity. And then and you want to preserve a little bit of moisture, but not too much. And then you're basically just off gassing it. So you're just letting that moisture go, your opening it up to air a little bit. And it just helps to to bring out the bouquet of the Terpene. You do lose. There is Terpene loss, of course, throughout the drying as well as the curing. But it just it just helps to to develop the flavor and develop the I'm sure there's a much more technical explanation of it.
Kirk: It doesn't change the THC at all, doesn't change the CBDs concentrations is purely there is purely the Terpenes and the Trichomes?
Kieley: Time can change. Time and temperature can change your cannabinoid content for sure. So, you want to be you want to make sure that you are putting it in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment. But, yeah, it's I don't know what the technical science. I don't know, Earl, if you can chime in on all of the technical stuff is.
Earl: You got me.
Kieley: All we know that it makes really good weed man.
Earl: I don't know what the chemical processes for the volatile compounds like the Terpenes. But they do. They do. They do sort of become more pungent over time. The big, the big thing is also all different buds are different sizes. So, a big benefit to storing them, that's basically just keeping them in a bag for a long period is you homogenize the moisture. So, the big, the big bud. The big giant bud, which obviously will have more moisture in it because it's physically longer dry, will add water to the smaller buds. So, the lower stuff that will go into pre-rolls and things like that. So, when you when they show up at the processor and they make pre-rolls out of them, for example, it'll be a nice. Something that was previously a little bit maybe over dry will have picked up some of the moisture from the larger buds.
Kirk: OK, all right. All right. I think I think you nailed it for me in the sense of what is craft cannabis. So, home grown, a home brewer and a home grown. So for now. Right. If you really want craft cannabis to meet your farm gate. Homegrown is craft. As long as it's done right.
Kieley: Yeah. Well, I mean, if your grandma bakes you cookies and then you have a box of Chip's Ahoy,.
Kieley: Which one are you going to prefer?
Kieley: Something that's mass produce or something that's, you know, soft and chewy and moist and freshly baked from the oven. And it's made with love and care and attention. And just that right there. That is craft.
Kirk: That's craft.
Kieley: It's not mass produced. Right.
Kieley: You're talking about growers that have been doing this and advocating for this plant. You know, we're the ones that not just us, but the caregivers that we've been growing for, you know, for patients and things like that for years. And now to be given this opportunity to do it legally and not be looking over your shoulder all the time. I'm so grateful that it is legal and that I can do that. I have three small children. And so, you know, wondering if you were going to get picked up by the cops one day is not a great feeling. And it's only really recently that I've started speaking about my legacy experience because I didn't have my security clearance. And it really made me nervous to talk about my past and what we did. The opportunity and being able to be out in the open about this and and just the amount of support that we're getting from our community. Like it just like I'm getting emotional talking about it, because this is what we'd love to do. And, you know, we've seen it change people's lives directly and seen what this plant can do for people. And and it doesn't do it for everybody. That's the other thing. It's not it's not everybody's cup of tea. It doesn't help with every ailment. But for the ones that it does help, it changes their life. And that's craft. That side is just the love and the knowledge that you're growing a product that's going to make someone more comfortable in their end-of-life or that someone is going to go sit by a fire and with their loved ones and just have a great time. And you helped build that experience even more or you contributed to that experience. That's craft as well.
Kirk: That's a great way to sort of stop this. I'm going to ask one question and just sort of end up where do you think the market's going? What do you if you had your vision to live in five years, what would the cannabis culture business look like?
Earl: I'll go. I would say in five years the dried flower market is going to be absolutely dominated by little craft operations just like us. It will over time as the provinces start filling out with more craft producers, it will become local just by virtue of the fact that there'll be so many and so many in B.C. that we can all supply the B.C. market and so many in Alberta that can supply the Alberta market. And the largest portion of the market is dried flower. And I expect that we will be dominating it, especially at the premium end of the of the product category. Things like beverages, edibles, topicals, all things that were the quality of the flour going into it doesn't really matter. Will be absolutely dominated by by the large groups who can produce basically the cheapest THC. Outdoor growers, gigantic million square foot greenhouses that can produce the cheapest THC for input into edibles and things like that, where the flavor and the turbines are just irrelevant. They're dominated by the chocolate or the high fructose corn syrup or that the ginger in the beer or the beverage. So in five years, that's what I would just in terms of the market, that's where I would expect it to be.
Kieley: Where I see cannabis in five years is a totally different industry that that's being developed. And that on tourism side, as well as things like Spa's, where you can have a complete. It's going to be about the whole market is going to be tertiary. It's not just about the secondary processing, because right now we're in a secondary industry. Right. We're just it's all about the manufacturing and the processing and a consumer-packaged goods. And I really Cannabis 4.0 or 5.0 is going to be really about cannabis services where you're going to bud and breakfast . You're doing cannabis tours. You're getting off and people are traveling to Canada because we're the where the first legalized country and they're going to come here for a cannabis experience. You're going to be able to go to a spa, take an edible, have a super relaxing massage with cannabis topicals and cannabis massage oils. You're going to go in and have a beautiful cannabis fascial, whether it's a CBD or THC infused or, you know, as the research and development grows, you're going to start seeing those rare cannabinoids treating different skin ailments or skin conditions and things like that. And I think it's really going to take a place in this tertiary marketplace where it's really about not just the product, but it's about how the product is administered, where it's not so much self-administered. But you have someone that's facilitating the experience because right now it's just such a personal thing that you're just only allowed to you are only able to consume in your house or in specific areas. And I think it's going to develop into much more of a service industry aspect.
Kirk: Thank you so much. I've been keeping notes and I had so many more questions, but I really have to let you go and we will talk again and we'll take you up on that, when you open up your first spa we'll get that episode going.
Kieley: It's in the long-term plan for sure. Thank you so much for having us. Always a pleasure being on your show.
Kirk: Oh, thank you. Hey, music choice. Can you guys come up with something? What would you like us to play on the episode? Music wise?
Kieley: I'm always sublime as my. Sublime is always my favorite. I don't know that's really a good. Sublime, Gosh.
Kirk: Well what do you listen to when you're trimming.
Earl: Yeah. I listen to your podcast, probably working on Health Canada crap.
Kirk: But thanks again, guys. I appreciate it.
Kieley: Thank you so much.
Earl: Thanks Kirk.
Kirk: So Trevor.
Kirk: What is your definition of craft cannabis?
Trevor: And I'm going to get people mad at me. So I'm, I'm going to kind of go the middle of the road. That and just so I can throw at a big word or I like the Terroir idea. The whole you can taste where it came from. So, in wine, they talk about, you know, you've got your Bordeaux from the Bordeaux region of France. I'm picturing two, five, years down the road where we can have cannabis tourism. And you could actually go to Kieley's operation, taste the cannabis there, and it'll taste different than if you go a little farther down the road and see Earl. Which will taste different than if you traipse back to Manitoba and you talked to Paul, try his. So I think it's you're going to taste, feel, experience, something different in the different parts of the country when you visit the different micro-growers.
Kirk: Middle of the road. yeah, I... My opinion is changing and it's changing a lot because I'm starting to understand more and more how this plant is grown. And the things that I've learned since we talked to Mr. Greening is and I guess some of this stuff is I knew, but I needed, you know, the box. What is that for a box of the things you think you know, the things you know you know, the things you don't know and things you don't know. You know, there's a name for that.
Trevor: I never pictured you as Donald Rumsfeld fan.
Kirk: Is that the box. Yeah. Well, I believe there are things I don't know. I know. And as I learned about cannabis and how it's grown, I go, oh, yeah, yeah. Now, a little known story. I don't know if I shared this one. Way back in the 80s, back when big hair was cool and high waisted jeans was cool.
Trevor: I had hair.
Kirk: You had hair. Well, yeah, I had more. I had an opportunity to walk into a rather large legacy market, black market, grow op in a basement. And I can remember the humidity, the water in the atmosphere and how, you know, the adjacent bedroom walls were literally weeping because of the moisture in the air. And as you go into the sealed plastic room with an air vent into the sewer system to blow off the exhaust, you are met with this luscious jungle. And again, this is what I'm thinking. What I didn't know, I knew. Right. And I've also been in rooms where, you know, Paul, I've been in his grow op. I've seen is his farm. What you grow it in. Like I said, I said to Mr. Greening in Episode 55 that I kind of like soil. Well and I admitted to I don't know if I could tell the difference to the soil or not, but I kind of liked the idea of it grown in soil because it goes to the hippie want-to-be in me that you know, it's growing in soil, but cannabis can grow. It can be grown in all sorts of mediums, right?
Kirk: And Paul mentioned this about the fact of sustainability. When you look at cannabis grown in hydroponics, that wastewater, all that potassium, all that sodium, all those chemicals that go in there to grow this wonderful plant, get spit out into the sewer system, makes me wonder what that doing to the system, pumping out all that all that fertilizer. The other thing about the cannabis plant, so that changes the field. And then when do you throw the plant into flower? Because you have they talk about veg, the veg state and the flower.
Trevor: Right now is because this has come up before explained to me and others who don't know what's what's veg state mean.
Kirk: OK, you start with a clone. You start with a seed. And the seed grows. And that's the veg state. That's when the plant grows in height and bush, right. For a cannabis plant, unless they're auto-flower, and I don't know a lot about that. But for a cannabis plant to start flower, it needs to have its light cycle changed. And if you think about any normal, you know, plant, you know, in the springtime, it starts to grow. And then all of a sudden, as the sun changes its angle on the horizon and there's less sunlight, it sprouts flowers. OK, well, you artificially do this. You will now throw a plant that's in a veg state, none flower, so it's just growing. It's vegetating. It's growing, and you can convert it to flowering by changing the light cycle. And some people call that the what is it now? Twelve and twelve is just the veg state. Twelve hours of light twelve hours of darkness. And then you can throw it to eighteen when you throw it to eighteen hours of darkness versus you know, what does that six hours of light or what.
Trevor: I'm sure there's an art to that.
Kirk: Yeah there's an art. Right. But then and this is the key and I think, I think I keep going back to Mr. Greening, because he's the one who first taught us about this, he made a comment about it, staying local. What I liked about this panel is how they talked about how the cannabis is treated after harvesting. Right. Because going back to my nineteen eighty story, going into the grow op and seeing this jungle, those flowers are resonantly thick and if you touch them, they're sticky. So there's, you know, the cannabis oils, oils and and sap for lack of a better what you call the medicine. It's sticky. So you see the trichomes and you can actually see you can actually smell the Terpenes already, so. When you walk in, you smell the plant, you can smell the Terpenes. So what happens after you cut it and hang it? Now, if you lay it on racks, you're knocking a lot of those trichomes and Terpenes off.
Trevor: I'm going to jump in real quick. I want to continue this, but we got to talk about all the hoops they had to go through because Earl specifically was talking about just the way that things were set up. He had to ship his cannabis from B.C. to Ontario to be packaged and back in which, you know, going back to telling him what's the difference between Rack and hanging?
Kirk: Well, OK. But that that's a good seque, because when you rack it and hang it, if you hang it, the plant is allowed to dry in the air. And of course, how much humidity is in the air at 50 percent versus 35 percent. Do you, do you dry your cannabis in three days or seven days or 12 days? Right. How you dry your cannabis changes the content of the cannabinoids inside and the Terpenes. And if you lay it down on a rack, then you're laying it on top of all the Trichomes and you start damaging and bruising the flower like literally bruising. So you want to hang it. That'll change the flavor. And then when you package it and Trim it. Do you do a wet trim or dry trim? And that is when you're removing the fan leaves from the flower head. The bud, the sinsemilla bud that you want. Right. So all that takes into play the final result of the product. Now, when you talk about transporting. Picture a delicate flower inside a plastic container going down the highway.
Trevor: A picture for those of you who haven't seen a bud. Picture a rose, what would happen if you start bagging a rose around.
Kirk: A dry rose.
Trevor: A dry rose?
Kirk: A dry rose, right. It's a very delicate flower. Right. So this is this is what I liked about when I'm getting closer to the definition of what a craft cannabis is. It's cannabis that has been cared for by someone with the passion that cares for it. But also, has not been bruised along the way of getting to my pipe, I guess. Right. So we're getting closer Trevor. Do you think we nailed it? I think we need another one.
Trevor: I don't want to take anything away from these guests. They were fantastic. And that's another side route. What I was sort of reviewing this one, I happened to be doing flu shots because that's what I do.
Kirk: It's flu season.
Trevor: And one of the pharmacy technicians, she was it was very quiet. And we're in a completely separate building. And she just literally sort of sees people when they come in and take their temperature, yadda, yadda, and I poke them in the arm. So we're kind of sitting around with not a lot to do. So I was reviewing this one and she listened to Kieley talks and wow, she's really smart, isn't she? Yes, she is really smart. So this is a fantastically bright panel you have. But I would I would love to hear more of this.
Kirk: Yeah, I think I think we got to go off and get another panel and have other discussions like this. Or maybe someday we can put these things on YouTube so people can see that we change their shirts.
Trevor: We have the technology, so, so many stories to tell.
Trevor: All right, we'll talk to you guys later.
Kirk: Very briefly in the conversation, Paul asks the group if they if they are involved with irradiation of the cannabis, can you explain that to me?
Trevor: Sure. Now, I'm not an expert on cannabis. I'm not an expert in radiation at all. But I'll tell you what I know. So just so happens, you can tell from my hairline, I grew up next to a nuclear research facility in Pinawa.
Kirk: Yes. Your parents your parents were researchers?
Trevor: My dad was, but my mom worked there and my like high school hockey coach. That was one of his main things he was doing, was working on the irradiation. If he hasn't retired by now, I think he actually spun off a company that wasn't they did they did irradiate food, but his company spun off to irradiating other stuff like you like you've heard of carbon fiber stuff where you have to cure it somehow and irradiating it can be a really good thing. So I have definitely eaten cookies made with irradiated flour. So again, far from an expert, but irradiation is a good and safe way to kill off microbes in foodstuffs. For sure. That is difficult to do another other ways. The most common you think of our spices like, you know, you can't you can't boil a spice to get rid of mold and bacteria and that sort of thing. So if you think of spices, that sort of the one that always gets brought up is they are often irradiated because it is hard to get rid of the microbes. The problem with microbes is, A, they spoil the food product and B, they could make people sick. So the idea behind irradiating cannabis, and this is where I am sort of extrapolating a little bit would be the same sort of idea, is it is a natural product. It is whether it's going outside, inside doesn't matter. There's still going to be bacteria, fungi, molds around. They're going to get on the cannabis just because they are everywhere. And so sooner or later they are going the cannabis is going to quote unquote spoil. And especially if we're talking about this being inhaled by sick people, possibly people with suppressed immune systems, that could be really bad. Now, does that mean that irradiation is the only way to do this? Absolutely not. And I'm sure there's much smarter people than me that can talk about the other sort of things that they do to make sure that there is limited amount of biological contamination. And and our cannabis guys did talk about that, about how fresher's better hand-picked is better. And I'm sure they're right that it is probably much easier to keep something, quote unquote, clean if it's done at a small scale, that it would be if it's done at a huge industrial scale. But as for just a concept, at the risk of making everybody in the green culture hate me, I see no problem on the face of it to irradiate cannabis, to get rid of microbes.