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

BC Business Magazine - - Gtec Holdings Ltd. -

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.”

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