Article by Monte Sonnenberg, Sarnia Observer
A Townsend firm finds itself on the leading edge of cannabis retailing in Canada.
Greybeard Cannabis on the Keith Richardson Parkway will open its retail storefront this week. The company’s click-and-collect website went live Wednesday.
“This is unique in Canada,” says Robyn Rabinovich, Greybeard’s vice president of strategic initiatives. “This is the first location where retailers can also have a production facility on site.
“We’re first in Canada as a pilot project. But we didn’t set out to be the first.”
Greybeard’s evolution tracks the development of wineries in Ontario: Wine production came first, followed by on-site retailing.
The roll-out at Greybeard represents a new level of co-operation involving Health Canada, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, and the Ontario Cannabis Store. Greybeard products will continue to be sold through the latter’s website and affiliated shops across the province.
The principals behind Greybeard settled on the name as a complement to their slogan, which is “Quality bonded by wisdom.” The heart of the operation is a high-security grow facility that produces thousands of plants a year.
The Bloom family of Townsend – farmers in this part of Haldimand for the past 10 years – started the facility in 2018 with a Health Canada permit for the production of medicinal marijuana. The decision to branch into the recreational market came when the Trudeau government legalized cannabis for casual use two years ago.
Greybeard co-owner Jay Bloom says the family also has business interests in the Jarvis area related to the production of chiropractic tables and cargo-slide devices for pickup trucks.
If wineries have a chief vintner, and breweries have a brewmaster, the analogue to that at Greybeard would be chief operating officer Tyson Cramer. Cramer is a native of California who came to Canada with 15 years experience producing quality cannabis.