Article by Vanmala Subramaniam, Financial Post
Greg Baute realized two years ago that he was stuck in the wrong job. He was working in Monsanto’s vegetable seed division in Central Valley, Calif., researching the genetic traits of tomatoes and how they could be used in the global tomato-breeding pipeline. Then California in November 2016 voted to legalize recreational cannabis.
“There was more known about tomatoes 100 years ago than there is about cannabis today from a genetics perspective,” Baute said, over the phone from his home on Vancouver Island. “I saw the opportunity to do some really super fun experiments with it.”
In January, he made the leap, becoming director of Breeding and Genetics at Anandia Labs Inc. — one of the oldest cannabis research centres in Canada — which was recently acquired by industry giant Aurora Cannabis Inc.
The potential of the cannabis plant, Baute said, is “so huge it’s hard to even quantify.” In Canada, consulting firm Deloitte predicts the legal recreational cannabis market will generate $7.17 billion in sales. Another report by the Bank of Montreal, which assumed a blue-sky scenario in which the U.S. and all 28 countries in the European Union legalize marijuana for recreational and medical use, projected that the global cannabis market could be worth $194 billion in seven years.
The industry’s growth potential is why Canadian cannabis companies are rushing to beef up their research teams, hiring scientists, geneticists, hemp researchers and molecular biologists, and, more importantly, enlisting the expertise of patent lawyers since the companies that can clinch and lock in lucrative intellectual property will undoubtedly have an edge, especially in an industry as young and commoditized as cannabis is.