Countdown to Oct. 17
Emblem Canada says it’s ready to meet demand when recreational use of marijuana becomes legal
PARIS — Emblem Cannabis says it is ready to meet the demand when recreational use of marijuana becomes legal next week.
“I can’t speak for the industry,” Nick Dean, CEO of the Paris company, said in an interview.
“But I can speak for Emblem Cannabis and I can tell you that thanks to the phenomenal team that we have in Paris we’re certainly ready.
“They’ve been working hard to make sure we’re ready and I can’t say enough about their efforts.”
Located in a former chicken processing plant, Emblem Cannabis is a medical marijuana producer and distributor with 5,000 customers across Canada.
On Oct. 17, Emblem is looking forward to supplying the recreational side of the marijuana market.
“On the recreational side, we will be supplying Ontario and Alberta and we’re also one of six companies to have deals with Shoppers Drug Mart,” said Dean.
“We’re looking to expand to other provinces but we’re off to a good start.”
In this province, the company’s products will be sold online through the Ontario Cannabis Store under Emblem’s adult-use brand, Symbl. The company announced the agreement with OCS in August, noting it was one of six Emblem had secured. Emblem also has agreements with: the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission; Fire and Power, an Alberta-based cannabis retailer; Shoppers German pharmaceutical wholesaler Acnos Pharma GmbH; and GreenSpace Brands.
Emblem employs 65 people at its 23,000-square-foot Paris indoor cannabis cultivation facility and research and development laboratory. About another 40 are employed in Toronto.
“We have people in Paris working in all kinds of different roles,” Dean said.
“We’ve got cultivators, quality control people, packaging, human resources and we’ve got people involved in R and D.
“Research and product development is a big part of what we do and a big part of our future as we look to expand our product line and build our brand.”
Emblem is growing and its Paris operation soon will include a new 30,000-square-foot facility for research and development and its extraction process for Emblem’s more advance products, which includes oils, oil-filled capsules and an extended release capsule.
The addition will include a 5,000-square-foot laboratory that is expected to become operational in early 2019. The laboratory is important to the company’s future because it is a necessary requirement to export products internationally, said Dean.
The new facility also will result in the hiring of between 30 and 50 new employees, most of whom would be located in Paris.
Emblem is also looking to open a retail operation at its Paris location.
The Ontario government is allowing licensed producers to open one retail store at their production facilities, Dean said.
Retail outlets are scheduled to become legal after April 1, 2019.
“I think we’re looking at something that more closely resembles a craft brewery,” Dean said. “The only difference is that at a craft brewery you’re able to consume some of the product.
“You wouldn’t be able to do that at these (marijuana) outlets.”
Dean said such a store would be valuable as a way to educate the public.
“It would give people an opportunity to learn more about the various products and about cannabis in general.”
Dean said Emblem is looking forward to growing its relationship with Paris.
“We’re thrilled with the way the community has welcomed us,” he said.
“It’s a great location for us, with easy access to the highway and we’ve been able to hire some great staff.”
I can tell you that thanks to the phenomenal team that we have in Paris we’re certainly ready.” Nick Dean, Emblem Cannabis CEO
Eric Beaver, Skyler Montesanto and Daniel Grant tend to marijuana plants in the Emblem Cannabis production facility in Paris.
Amanda McLagan, of Emblem Cannabis, works with some medical marijuana in the company’s Paris facility.
Brantford-Brant MPP Will Bouma (left), Jeff Keyes, general manager of Emblem Cannabis, and Nick Dean, Emblem’s president and CEO, pose in one of the plant rooms at the company’s Paris production facility during a tour Thursday.