|LICENCE TYPE:||Micro Cultivation|
|TIMELINE:||~12 months (late 2018 to December 2019)|
Denis Gagnon has been growing flowers and vegetables and raising livestock on his farm near Merrickville Ontario for over thirty years as both a hobby and a business. He’s been growing food for sale at farmers markets since 1993 and more recently in local CSAs.
When the federal government announced their new regulations for cannabis production, the 71 year old farmer decided it was time to begin trying his hand at adding cannabis to the roster.
Along with his wife and some help from private investors like friends and family, Denis invested about $75,000 into constructing two new buildings on his existing land, along with a perimeter fence, cameras, and other security features and infrastructure, to begin cultivating cannabis outdoors starting this year.
They began looking at the process in late 2018 and were licensed in December 2019. They did so without any help from consultants, but spent months reading through the regulations and coming to understand the application process.
He shared that the local community was very supportive of the process, and that his wife, Liz Dickie, a former city councillor in the community, was supportive and excited by this new type of business in their area. Merrickville is a small community about an hour south of Ottawa and about 20 minutes away from Tweed’s facility in Smiths Falls.
“After 30 years, the knowledge and the skill that we’ve developed in growing organic, we’ve mastered it. So we started talking about cannabis production and figured, well, we’re not getting any younger and maybe this would be a good venture to accomplish what we wanted to accomplish on the farm, which is having something to pass on to our family.”
We would like the operation to work so that we can pass this on to our kids and grandkids. Our main desire is to produce good, natural products for our region.”
“The main goal for us is not to cash out on our operation. We would like the operation to work so that we can pass this on to our kids and grandkids. Our main desire is to produce good, natural products for our region.”
Farming isn’t easy
Denis says his 30+ years of growing plants has taught him that farming isn’t easy, and he expects there will be challenges with this new crop. However he is confident and hopeful that with his experience of plants, his knowledge of his land, and the richness of his soil from years of sustainable agriculture, that he can turn Euphorium IV:XX Inc. into a viable business for his family and community.
He also hopes that in the future Ontario will allow farms liks his own to sell cannabis via a ‘farm gate’ method, similar to how he is now able to sell vegetables, organic free range chicken eggs, organically fed pork, chicken, and grass fed Dexter beef.
Farm gate is definitely a viable option, and I strongly believe that allowing licensed micros to sell directly to licensed retail stores would remove tons of weight off our shoulders and positively normalize the Canadian cannabis market
Farm gate is a viable option
“When (Health Canada) opened the micro cultivation opportunities, it was done in a way so the micros could supply processors with consistent stockage. The problem today is big producers have enormous inventories on hand, so they don’t buy from micros. Kind of catch 22 for the micros. Farm gate is definitely a viable option, and I strongly believe that allowing licensed micros to sell directly to licensed retail stores would remove tons of weight off our shoulders and positively normalize the Canadian cannabis market.”