A popular sales model in other industries is a direct-to-the-public sales model. But this is lacking in cannabis, where sales are generally restricted to licensed retailers and dispensaries. Now, Canadian cannabis farms want to follow in the footsteps of wineries, where vineyard tours and cellar-door sales see the public welcomed onto the farms and allowed to purchase at the point of production.
What if it were possible to buy your cannabis direct from the source—the cannabis farms where the plants grow—right after visiting the facilities, like in the model used in vineyards and breweries?
On this morning, three visitors make a visual and olfactory foray into Parkland Flower cannabis farm, a cannabis production facility near Edmonton. After a short stroll through the plant drying area, the guests finally enter the most anticipated part of the tour: the flowering room.
Cannabis farm to produce 350kg per year
The room is filled with cannabis plants. For the past four weeks, the plants have been receiving special care with carefully controlled humidity and heat levels. This is the first harvest by this young company. It could reach 350 kg per year.
“The smell is incredible,” Nicholas Steinhubl raves between two photos taken with his phone. Makes me want to have my own cannabus farm. I’m gonna remember this moment for the rest of my life.
“I can’t believe all this stuff fits in such a small building. Here I see life, I see a business growing” he says, remarking on the cannabis farm.
The words of passionate cannabis farm experts
These guests are actually professionals. They work for the Nova Cannabis store in downtown Edmonton, and have come to get a behind-the-scenes look at the products being created at the cannabis farm which they will soon be selling in the store.
“I learned the fundamentals of growing and the different varieties of chemicals, such as THC and terpenes,” explains Nicholas Steinhubl, who is delighted to see the cannabis farm just a few miles from his home.
When you come here, you realize that these people are passionate, that they are not criminals who grow cannabis. Plus it supports a local business, adds cannabis activist William Wallace.
The co-owner of the premises, Kieley Beaudry, acts as a tourist guide for a few hours a week with industry players, but hopes to see the general public walk through the doors of the cannabis farm soon.
“People like to know where their food comes from. They also want to know where and how their cannabis is produced,” says Beaudry, who is the co-owner of Parkland Flower cannabis farm.
Cannabis Farm good for the economy
A dozen Alberta micro cultivators are asking the provincial government for permission to arrange tours and direct sales, similar to the B.C. wineries and Alberta breweries.
An additional source of income for these small cannabis farms, limited to a microculture of up to 200 m2, who sometimes struggle to hold their own against industry giants such as Aurora or Canopy Growth.
“Jobs will be created. We are in the middle of an economic recession. This would be a huge boost from the government,” says Kieley Beaudry, the head of the Alberta Cannabis Microgrowers Association.
Parkland Flower wants to sell direct to the public
Kieley Beaudry, co-owner of Parkland Flower, hopes to obtain authorization to sell directly in less than two years. The current law in Alberta does not allow direct sales to consumers by cannabis farms.
“I have contacted several Members of Parliament and the Alberta Gaming, Alcohol and Cannabis Commission (AGLC). The industry is ready to take the next step,” she believes.
Ontario ahead of the curve
The Alberta Department of Finance has indicated, by email, that it will closely examine the approach of other jurisdictions that have taken the lead on the cannabis farm issue. But it will not commit to a date at this time.
British Columbia plans to allow direct sales by cannabis farms in 2022. In Ontario, it could happen even sooner.
According to Daffyd Roderick, director of communications for the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), cannabis farms could be licensed for direct sale by early 2021. “Nearly a dozen licensed producers of various sizes have expressed interest. We’re now looking at the possibility of direct sales,” he says.
According to the OCS, direct selling will allow consumers to turn away from the illegal market a little more and will create a direct link between the public and the producers. Customers in Ontario will be able to purchase up to 30 grams of cannabis by visiting a store attached to a cannabis farm’s production warehouse.
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First published in Radio Canada, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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