Just as craft beer has grown in popularity in recent years, craft cannabis could be about to transform the legal cannabis market. Craft cannabis—which is cannabis grown by small-scale producers—has a dedicated following in Canada, with proponents contending that it provides a more high-quality product.
If you’re looking to get into the cannabis industry, then craft cannabis could be a potentially lucrative opportunity. Here’s a look at what craft cannabis is, what benefits it has over other types of cannabis, and how you can get involved with this exciting movement.
Health Canada Regulations Determine What Counts as Craft Cannabis
While you may think of craft cannabis as any cannabis grown by independent or non-mainstream growers, in Canada the term actually has a very specific definition. In fact, Health Canada has a special class of licence specifically for small-scale growers called micro-cultivation licences. For a micro-cultivation licence, the area used for growing cannabis plants must not exceed 200 square metres.
Staying under this threshold comes with advantages beyond the licence holder getting to call themselves a craft cannabis grower. For example, unlike with larger producers, micro-cultivators don’t have to keep video records of who visits the facility nor are they required to install an alarm system. Micro-cultivators also pay smaller fees than large producers do.
Advocates Contend That Craft Cannabis Offers a Better Product
Craft cannabis has a number of purported benefits according to its advocates. For example, craft cannabis growers are small businesses, so they can provide each plant with individualized attention and care. Furthermore, since the focus of craft cannabis is on the quality of the plant, there is less pressure to reach quick flowering cycles, which are sometimes encouraged at larger facilities.
Also, just like with wines, cannabis’ characteristics can vary depending on the climate and soil in which it is grown. A thriving industry of micro-cultivators is better positioned to take advantage of this potential variety rather than large growers who may only have a few large growing facilities in just a handful of locations.
Craft Cannabis Opportunities Exist for Students in Cannabis Retail Courses
If you’re interested in getting involved in the craft cannabis movement, there are certainly plenty of ways to do so. One option is to work in the production side of the business, such as at a micro-cultivation facility where you can apply the skills you learned about quality assurance and growing techniques in your cannabis retail courses to your job.
However, you’ll need to keep in mind that in Ontario producers cannot also be retailers. Rather, they must first sell it to the Ontario Cannabis Store—which is the only legal cannabis wholesaler in the province—which then sells the product to individual stores. But if you want to make a cannabis retail application in Ontario and be involved with running a store, there are still opportunities to be a part of the craft cannabis movement. For example, you can focus on providing craft cannabis products at your store in order to appeal to consumers who are more concerned about quality than price. Just as with craft beer, consumers tend to be willing to pay a premium for cannabis produced by micro-cultivators.
Are you interested in cannabis retail in Ontario?
Contact the Academy of Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences to learn about our cannabis programs.