Gatineau firm is Que­bec’s top sup­plier of cannabis

Ottawa Citizen - - CITY - T’CHA DUN­LEVY tdun­levy@post­

Mar­i­juana will be­come le­gal in Canada on Wed­nes­day, but op­er­a­tions were al­ready in full swing this week at Que­bec’s big­gest sup­plier.

There were pot plants as far as the eye could see dur­ing a me­dia tour through one of sev­eral ware­houses at Hexo Corp.’s ex­pan­sive Gatineau fa­cil­ity.

Truck­loads of the prod­uct are en route to So­ciété québé­coise du cannabis (SQDC) out­lets to en­sure that shelves will be stocked on open­ing day.

“I’m very proud to an­nounce the his­toric first ship­ments to a num­ber of our pro­vin­cial part­ners,” com­pany co-founder and chief brand of­fi­cer Adam Miron said.

“The pal­lets are loaded up and they are be­ing sent out. This is what we’ve been build­ing to­wards, and this is what we’ve been work­ing for. It’s been very ex­cit­ing to see.”

Hexo Corp. is the prin­ci­pal sup­plier for the SQDC, and will pro­vide more than 30 per cent of the cannabis and de­rived prod­ucts that will be legally sold in Que­bec. The com­pany also has agree­ments with On­tario and B.C.

Miron and part­ner Sébastien St-Louis launched their com­pany in 2013, ob­tain­ing a med­i­cal mar­i­juana sales li­cence two years later un­der the name Hy­dropothe­cary, and go­ing pub­lic in 2017.

They be­gan by sell­ing prod­ucts such as cannabis oil and mar­i­juana sub­lin­gual mist. The com­pany has since be­come one of the ma­jor play­ers of the Cana­dian cannabis in­dus­try, as ev­i­denced by its part­ner­ships with Mol­son Coors to launch Truss, a line of non-al­co­holic, cannabis­in­fused bev­er­ages; and with Metro Sup­ply Chain Group to dis­trib­ute adult-use web-store or­ders in a three-year con­tract with the SQDC out of a 58,000-square-foot fa­cil­ity in Mon­treal.

Hexo Corp.’s 10,000-square-foot Gatineau fa­cil­ity has an an­nual pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity of 25,000 kg of dried prod­uct. Work on a mil­lion-square-foot ex­pan­sion will be com­pleted by the end of the year, bring­ing ca­pac­ity up to 108,000 kg per year.

It’s a dizzy­ing as­cent for a com­pany that still sees it­self as an un­der­dog.

“Sébastien and I first set foot on this prop­erty four years ago,” Miron said. “Five years ago, we cre­ated a med­i­cal mar­i­juana busi­ness, and we went all-in. It was an op­por­tu­nity for two 29-year-olds to com­pete on the same level as so many other ti­tans of the in­dus­try.”

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