Count­down to Oct. 17

Em­blem Canada says it’s ready to meet de­mand when recre­ational use of mar­i­juana be­comes le­gal

The Expositor (Brantford) - - FRONT PAGE - VIN­CENT BALL EXPOSITOR STAFF

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

VIN­CENT BALL/THE EXPOSITOR

Eric Beaver, Skyler Mon­te­santo and Daniel Grant tend to mar­i­juana plants in the Em­blem Cannabis pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity in Paris.

VIN­CENT BALL/THE EXPOSITOR

Amanda McLa­gan, of Em­blem Cannabis, works with some med­i­cal mar­i­juana in the com­pany’s Paris fa­cil­ity.

VIN­CENT BALL/THE EXPOSITOR

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.

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