This Unique Craft-cannabis Corporation Readies for Harvest
Kelowna’s GTEC Holdings positions itself as a premium cultivator and supplier as Canada readies for legalization in the industry
As the use of recreational cannabis moves closer to the Oct. 17 legalization in Canada, provincial and federal governments recently rolled out a regulatory framework that includes several classes of licences, which has prompted mounting anticipation for successful startups like Kelowna’s GTEC Holdings Ltd.—a company that is ideally positioned to become a leading vertically integrated craftcannabis producer and marketer.
As such, GTEC has five components in its supply chain to ensure the entire process is within their full internal control: cultivation, extraction, product testing and retail, plus product export.
A publicly traded corporation, GTEC was founded in July 2017 by CEO and chairman Norton Singhavon to focus on two core competencies: cultivating consistent, premium quality craft cannabis in purpose-built indoor facilities, and extracting cannabis to create a high-end, premium oil.
According to Singhavon, outside of a handful of companies, no other publicly traded Licensed Producers (LPS) are vertically integrated. And within the top five of those, most of their production comes from greenhouses, which creates a product that is not in demand, as indicated by U.S. trends.
“As far as I am aware, we are the only premium LP with indoor flower cultivation that is also vertically integrated,” says Singhavon.
With its medical-cultivation and cannabistesting licences, Singhavon says GTEC expects to be able to sell medical cannabis in mid-september, just slightly ahead of the legalization target date.
“The timing on the retail front will be contingent on each province and some governments are moving faster than others,” he says. “We expect to be operational and licensed in Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. as well.”
The company is adapting to the regulations amid Canada’s changing cannabis landscape and Singhavon explains the challenges, which are twofold: finding talented recruits from other industries who are willing to work in cannabis; and having them fully trained within a limited time frame.
“There’s no precedent so we don’t know which industry to hire from, be it food, alcohol, tobacco or pharma,” he says. “Getting people up to speed in a new industry with a rush to market is difficult.”
Health Canada’s new regulations, as they apply to the growing sector, will permit licensing of micro producers (200 square metres) and cannabis nurseries (that are limited to 50 square metres).
GTEC expects the micro licences will attract talent and expertise in disciplines, such as genetics, from the grey market (the portion of the marijuana industry that is made up of both illegal and legal elements) and it will then evolve into a legalized framework. Singhavon says GTEC could support such micro productions with capital, regulatory oversight and cultivation expertise to help them succeed.
“In return, we’ll be provided with more high-end, boutique craft cannabis into our supply chains,” Singhavon says.
Singhavon considers the Okanagan the cannabis cultivation capital of Canada and notes that the underground market has always been predominant in the region. He said most people have a negative opinion of that sector of the market, but there are many passionate people within the industry who are trying to adapt their cultivation to comply with legislation.
To that end, Singhavon acknowledges diversity can only help the burgeoning region. “I’ve met many individuals on the Island and in the Okanagan who are really mom-and-pop operators who are just looking for a way to produce in the industry.”