Located in Coldstream, BC, Microcraft Cannabis Workshop is a small micro cultivator in the process of finishing up its first crop for market.
Smaller than even the typical micro, Microcraft Cannabis Workshop is operating with a canopy of only around 95m2, a little under half of the 200m2 canopy allowance for micro cultivators. Although the size is small, owner Adam Proskiw says this is intentional as a good starting point that he can manage with minimal help.
“I approached this with an amount I could handle by myself,” says Proskiw. “I know it will be a lot of work, but this is a manageable size with myself and some help. I could see expanding in a few years, but for now this gets me into the market with manageable risk.”
Spending under $500,000 to retrofit a building he had previously, briefly, been growing in under a medical licence—including the cost of a few year’s rent—the 300m2 facility holds his grow rooms, plus space for drying, curing, trimming and storage.
Proskiw expects to harvest his first crop of Chatterbox, a cultivar sourced from a Saskatchewan nursery, and he’s in talks with a processor in the region as well. Although ideally he says he would like to be selling into his own region of BC, Proskiw figures his first year will be focused on establishing a viable company and building a name for himself before he starts to focus on BC’s Okanagan region.
While some micros are eager to control more of the supply chain by processing and selling their own products, Proskiw says he prefers to just focus on cultivation, at least for the time being, while letting others deal with getting his flower into provincial markets.
“That doesn’t appeal to me as much as the horticulture side, to be honest. It’s not really something I want to spend my time doing.”
Long term, he says he could see moving his site to a new location (under a new licence) so that he could operate a farmgate store. But as with processing and sales, he says this is more of a long-term goal.
“As soon as I heard about (farmgate), I loved the idea. It’s a great way to both educate consumers and give them a chance to enjoy the product. “But I don’t think it would work in my area where I am now. It’s too rural, too out of the way. It’s a great place to grow cannabis: the water is pristine, and the air is clean. But it would take so much work and not a lot of people would come out here. So it would be better somewhere else, I think.”
Although the licensing process took a few years from the initial site retrofit, Proskiw says that contrary to some people’s experiences, he had a positive experience with licensing, and found Health Canada fairly easy to work with.
“I found out pretty early on that a lot of what they are doing with the RMI’s is just finding out if they can work with you,” he explains. “They just want to know, are you open to hearing changes? I never felt like I was being bullied. I felt like if I needed to talk to somebody I could. That’s not always the case with government processes. But I had a guy who, if I emailed him, would help me, so that was pretty big.”
Now that BC has opened direct delivery options for small-scale BC growers like Microcraft Cannabis Workshop, Proskiw says he would also like to start looking at that as an option, depending on the processor they end up working with.
By maintaining such a small canopy—allowing him to run the facility with essentially just two people, including himself working full time—he thinks even with the currently low margins for wholesale flower, he can make it work.
“It would be great to see prices start to stabilize long term. But I just think that being small and doing as much as I can on my own, not taking on too much, and doing it as well as I can is key. I don’t care too much about the size and the numbers in the next year or so, I just want to establish this company as consistently producing top-quality cannabis flower. That’s the only thing that I am about. The market will do what it’s going to do, but that’s always going to be my north star.”
Anyone interested in contacting Proskiw at Microcraft Cannabis Workshop can visit their website at http://cannabisworkshop.com/.