Coulson Cannabis is a cannabis processor in Ontario focusing on solventless extraction of small batch craft cannabis, now looking forward to their first product hitting the market.
First licensed in March of this year, the small business is expecting their first product, a Lemon Zkittlez rosin in half gram skus, to reach shelves in British Columbia and Ontario in September, followed by several other products in the coming months.
Only a slow trickle of extract products have made it to the market at this point, with most producers focusing on products like vape pens or edibles, but increasingly, products like hash, rosin, shatter and some budders have made at least fleeting appearances on shelves before quickly selling out.
Josh Herman, Director of Business Development at Coulson Cannabis, says their first product is ready to be shipped and expects to secure deals in at least two provinces for sales in September, to be followed up by several other products including other flower rosins, ice water hash, and solventless gel caps. He expects the price to be around $45 to $50 for a half gram.
These strains are grown for solventless extraction or at least good candidates for extraction. It has to yield well, clarity has to be there, along with flavour and texture. Se we need growers who can deliver that for us.
Because there are so few solventless extract products on the market he says provinces have been very open to their business.
“The current rosins that are out there are more trim based, whereas ours come from indoor producers, whole flowers. Quality in and quality out. We’re going for flavour profiles… our first three flavours are Lemon Zkittlez, Black Cherry Punch and Mandarin Cookies and we think those flavours come through in our processes. That’s why working with good growers with good genetics is important and making sure they can grow with good consistency is important.”
It’s not just THC level. We’re expressing the terpene profile and chemovar to the best potential we can
They expect their product to retail for around $45 – $50 for a half gram, he says, with the hope that is a good entry space for new consumers who may want to try the product for the first time, before expanding their product line to even more complex extract products like live rosins and diamonds and cake batter and more.
“We really want to be known for quality, we don’t want to be putting out cheap product,” says Herman. “We can do it, but it won’t be the quality we want for our brand and that Cody (Coulson Cannabis founder and Master Extractor) and the whole company can stand behind.”
Because these products are so new to the legal market in Canada, Herman says setting the tone is important from the start.
“We wanted to appeal to the black market connoisseur while still being a flavour profile that maybe a new consumer will go for, too”
Many LPs are really quantity driven and not quality driven so finding the growers who can work with us on things like cultivar selection and harvest time, has been really important.
As these products emerge and begin to mature, one expectation is that it’s a chance to finally better compete with the kind of products that are popular on the illicit market.
One of the advantages Coulson Cannabis potentially brings to the table is the many years of experience founder Cody and his brother Brett Coulson have working with these types of products prior to legalization, albeit at a smaller scale, including Cody’s involvement with cannabis dispensaries in Ontario.
Their experience at that time helped them build a foundation for some of their basic processes, but they both say they’ve appreciated the ability to begin doing the same work at a larger scale, all in the open.
A big part of this new advantage, say Cody and Brett, was spending time visiting with licensed cannabis growers all over Canada, at least pre-COVID-19, even while they were still awaiting their licence, and finding the kinds of flower Cody wanted to work with.
Selecting the right flower, not only for THC levels, but for an array of factors takes time, explains Cody.
“It’s not just THC level. We’re expressing the terpene profile and chemovar to the best potential we can,” he says. “These strains are grown for solventless extraction or at least good candidates for extraction. It has to yield well, clarity has to be there, along with flavour and texture. Se we need growers who can deliver that for us.”
“It definitely was a struggle to find source material and it still is,” continues Cody. “Many LPs are really quantity driven and not quality driven so finding the growers who can work with us on things like cultivar selection and harvest time, has been really important. We’re not looking to make spot deals, we want to work with growers who care about the plant.”
Although that hands-on work is now temporarily hampered by precautions due to the global pandemic, the work they did in building relationships early on, even prior to licensing, paid off. Now he says they can build on those relationships virtually, including a few new partnerships they expect to announce very soon.
“With our solventless extraction, we can’t mask bad growing practices,” explains Cody, “so we’re making sure the product is going to be consistent. It takes longer now to verify the growing techniques because we can’t come see it, so we have to get a sample and test it and try it out as an extract product to make sure it will express what we’re looking for. But we’ve found some suppliers who are willing to work with us long term now and that is making it easier.”
For him, it’s the smaller batch producers who have that focus.
“Micros seem to just know what they are doing on the quality side. And they also seem to just be more passionate and are often consumers themselves. I think it’s mutually beneficial because we get to work with the great product they are making and we want them to know we really respect their product and care about what we produce, too.”
It’s a mutual admiration for the plant and quality, says Brett.
“We’re consumers as well. We’re excited to get this product and try it ourselves. We’re competitive with our quality, but we’re really excited about any new products like this coming out right now and we want to try them all, too.”
The quality and consistency is one of the benefits Cody says he sees compared to working with products from the black market.
“Before we would just have to work with what we could get, but now we have a chance to find growers who can work with us, show us how they grow it, work with us on when to harvest and what they will grow.”
Another benefit, says Brett, is more access to lab results and understanding what they are working with and how it affects their end product.
“You could always look in Leafly and try to guess the cannabinoid or terpene profiles, but to be able to read the lab results and see the terpene levels so you can understand why it has those smells and how it reacts when you’re processing it, that’s been really nice.”