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New cannabis seeds coming to Ontario and BC soon

Ontario announced that they expect new seeds to be available for home growers soon, seed growers say BC will see more as well.

Home growers in Ontario will soon be able to access new cannabis seeds for their four plants per household, says Cheri Mara, Chief Commercial Officer for the Ontario Cannabis Store. However, those looking to legally purchase live plants/clones in Canada’s most populated province will have to wait. BC and other provinces should see new varieties soon, as well.

These new seeds will be the first available to consumers in Ontario since the province ran out of supply of two previous varieties offered by Tweed, the Argyle and Bakerstreet Seeds, which both retailed at $60 for a pack of four. 

Mara says the province has been seeking to find new seeds to populate their online store for some time, but has had trouble locating suppliers. The six new products will be coming from Alberta-based micro cultivator ANC Cannabis, and even more options will be announced soon.

“We know that access to legally sourced seeds is important to customers who are passionate about growing their own,’ Mara reiterated in an email to Stratcann. “Seeds have been very tough to source. We are open to sourcing seeds from any licensed producer willing to bring them to market. This spring our seed selection will be better. To start, we’re adding six additional seed products from ANC Cannabis based out of Alberta, and more in the weeks ahead.”

“Most seed offerings come in four packs and are listed around $50 including tax (which is competitive with illegal market pricing),” wrote an OCS representative to StratCann via email.

Clones and Seeds

Ontario also indicated that they are interested in selling live plants/clones in the future, but have not yet found a solution for shipping options. They hope to have a solution in place by early 2021. 

“Until we can do it really well and make sure they survive the journey, we will not offer clones,” says Mara. “We hope to have a solution for clones in time for next year’s growing season.”

Tairance Rutter, the Vice President, Business Development and Marketing for ANC in Edmonton says they will be shipping their first two varieties of seeds to Ontario in the coming weeks, adding new runs every few weeks following that. The first six varieties will include Lemon Safire, Lemon Skunk, Super Lemon Haze, Fruity Hoops, Pink Lemonade and Muskoka Kush. All will be feminized, sold in packages of four. 

“We’re actually working on a pilot project right now with Saskatchewan. We’re hoping to see a price point around $40 for one clone. If it goes well in Saskatchewan, then the OCS has said they are open to exploring the possibility.”

Rutter says ANC is also shipping seeds to BC’s provincial distributor as early as next week, and expects those products will reach consumers soon after that. Those will be a limited run of Golden Lemon 2.0 sold under the 34 Street brand. The Alberta micro cultivator is also in talks with Alberta and Saskatchewan about supplying genetics, including the possibility of selling live plants into the Saskatchewan market in the coming months. 

“We’re actually working on a pilot project right now with Saskatchewan. We’re hoping to see a price point around $40 for one clone. If it goes well in Saskatchewan, then the OCS has said they are open to exploring the possibility. But we need to see if it works well in Saskatchewan first. It’s still in beta phase, but we’re looking to have it off the ground ASAP, so that’s coming down the pipeline, too.”

He says ANC will be selling the live plants to a private wholesaler in Saskatchewan, who will then provide them to retailers and consumers.  

Eighteen months into legalization in Canada, only one province or territory has offered clones for sale to their residents thus far. Newfoundland started listing a handful of varieties of clones from Ontario-based cultivator Eve & Co in December 2018, allowing consumers to purchase the plants online through the provincial retailer and having them shipped directly to the consumer from the cultivator.

Kelsey Jobson, Director of Product Management at Eve & Co, says the Ontario-based grower has continued to sell live plants to Newfoundlanders, but demand has been relatively low, shipping only a few plants a week, and they have received pushback from Health Canada on the compliance of the clone shippers they used for the live plants. 

“One of the reasons we chose to start in Newfoundland is their framework is totally different than anyone else. It was a good way to enter the recreational market, rather than putting together pallets to ship out, and to send them right into the B2C market.”

According to Jobson, the federal regulator had concerns that their clone shipping material didn’t comply with the federal consumer packaging regulations because the clone packaging had a transparent, breathable window. 

“Originally it was approved under the ACMPR,” says Jobson, “and once we switched over to the Cannabis Act it was no longer compliant. They said we are allowed to run out our inventory. We can still ship until we run out of our packaging. So we still plan to offer to Newfoundlanders for the foreseeable future.”

Image via Leafly

Jobson does note that Eve & Co. has temporarily stopped offering clones for sale in Newfoundland due to delays in shipping options from Canada Post due to the current COVID-19 health crisis. Once those shipping delays end, they plan to offer them for sale again. 

She says Eve & Co initially had conversations about selling clones with both BC and Ontario in late 2018, but ultimately the most interest was from Newfoundland. Because it was a smaller market and easier to manage, she says it made the most sense for Eve & Co to use that as a test market for the new product. The fact that Newfoundland allows producers to ship product directly to consumers was also a bonus. 

“One of the reasons we chose to start in Newfoundland is their framework is totally different than anyone else,” Jobson told Stratcann. “It was good to allow us to dip our toes in, it is a good way to enter the recreational market, rather than putting together pallets to ship out, and to send them right into the B2C market.”

Behind the scenes, some provincial distributors have said they have little interest in stocking live plants, due to the logistics of keeping them alive in a warehouse or retail store, but the option to allow federally-approved cannabis growers to sell directly via ‘drop shipping’ is an option as well, depending on provincial regulations.

“BC is gobbling up all our product right now,” says the cannabis nursery’s CEO, Geoff White. “We don’t even have the opportunity to go into other provinces yet because the appetite in BC is so great.”

At least one other seed seller, CannGenX Biotech in British Columbia, says the Ontario distributor reached out to them as well, but they were unable to meet their demand currently as the BC market was absorbing their entire supply

“BC is gobbling up all our product right now,” says the cannabis nursery’s CEO, Geoff White. “We don’t even have the opportunity to go into other provinces yet because the appetite in BC is so great.”

White says the process of convincing provinces that there was even a demand for seeds at the consumer level was a challenge at first. When their first batch sold out in half a day, BC as well as other provinces, including Ontario, began calling and asking for some for themselves. He says they hope to provide Ontario and other provinces with seeds soon. 

BC is currently the only province to offer any cannabis seeds other than the two varieties from Tweed. They currently offer one variety from CannGen X, which the company’s CEO says will soon include a second new strain some time in May. 

Seeds from ANC are expected to reach the BC consumer market by May, as well.


About Author

David Brown writes about cannabis policy and industry stuff and lives in British Columbia. He likes plants.