Article by Dale Carruthers, London Free Press
Looking out over the partially tilled field, Jeannette VanderMarel says she sees the future.
The 40-hectare farm in Southwestern Ontario will soon be home to the province’s first commercial outdoor cannabis crop when planting begins next month.
The operation east of Brantford — approved by Health Canada last week — will create nearly 200 jobs at the Southwestern Ontario pot producer 48North and catapult it into one of the country’s largest by capacity.
Most of the crop will be used for cannabis extracts, concentrates and edibles — products that VanderMarel, 48North’s co-chief executive, believes will dominate the market once they’re introduced in the fall.
“Outdoor is the future, for sure,” she said, noting no other agricultural products produced for extraction are cultivated inside.
“We don’t grow grapes indoors for wine, or canola for canola oil.”
Since Health Canada announced last year it was lifting its ban on outdoor cultivation, cannabis companies have flooded the federal marijuana regulator with applications to license outdoor areas, which could be used for growing, composting or destruction. Around 190 applications remain in the queue, the agency says.
What’s driving all the interest? It costs 25 cents to grow a gram of marijuana outside, compared to $1 for greenhouse-grown cannabis and $2 for plants grown indoors, VanderMarel said.