Article by Angela Stelmakowich
The week that was offered a mix of happenings, from advancing diversity to shedding jobs, identifying why weed smells like weed and getting all excited about exports.
48North refocuses and slashes workforce
48North Cannabis Corp. is streamlining its operations by immediately ceasing its GoodFarm outdoor growing operations west of Hamilton, Ont., a move that will contribute to shrinking the company workforce by about 20 per cent.
Citing an industry in transition and a nationwide excess supply of weed, the streamlining seeks to further improve margins, bolster efficiencies and advance sustainable growth, reports the vertically integrated licensed producer (LP). Twenty-six staff will reportedly lose their jobs.
48North voiced its confidence that its indoor cultivation facility in Kirkland Lake, Ont., coupled with the company’s strategic partnerships with other LPs, “will ensure the quantity and quality of cannabis products required to meet expected demand.”
Charles Vennat, CEO of 48North, previously reported that the company was able to grow 12,000 kilograms of cannabis at a cost of 25 cents per gram outdoors at GoodFarm compared to some indoor growers who spend $2 per gram, according to Global News.
48North’s rejigging of operations demanded “restructuring our workforce and redeploying resources towards commercialization, branding and innovation, and deepening relationships with retailers and wholesalers,” Vennat says in the statement, calling it “a difficult decision.”
By decreasing its cash use and accelerating its pathway to profitability, 48North “expects the change will result in annualized fixed operating costs reductions in excess of $5 million.”
Michigan accelerator invests in the next generation
Michigan-based cannabis cultivator and processor Fluresh is looking forward with a new business incubator laser-focused on a more diverse, and inclusive vibrant weed industry.
Since Fluresh Accelerator was launched last December, the company assessed all applicants and came up with four diverse, existing Michigan-based businesses and three individuals to take part in its new educational mentorship program. With information ranging from licensure to marketing, the program aims to give participants the skills, knowledge and resources needed to take a confident and successful leap into the cannabis industry.
Those real-world learnings will be thanks to collaborating with community partners, educators and governmental agencies, thereby creating “an end-to-end curriculum that will develop the next leaders in the industry,” the statement notes. The first information sessions kicked off in February and will continue throughout the year.
“As licensed operators in the cannabis industry, we should be brave enough to acknowledge the history of cannabis in the country and those communities that were targeted and disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs,” says Denavvia Mojet, corporate impact strategist and legal compliance manager at Fluresh.
“To combat these inequities, cannabis companies need to lead by example and work to drive a new industry that is diverse and invested in social equity and justice,” Mojet emphasizes.
This compound is the reason for weed’s skunky smell
U.S. researchers believe they have pinpointed the compound most responsible for producing weed’s skunky — some say off-putting — scent, information that could prove a first step in both better understanding the source of the odour and addressing complaints about commercial cannabis and hemp operations.
Made by a research team comprised of experts from Byers Scientific, Iowa State University and Texas-based odour experts, the discovery points to the 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol (321 MBT) as the primary source of “that” weed smell, notes a statement from Byers Scientific.
Team members isolated, identified and measured the compound “by employing a triangulation approach of analytical chemistry, leaf enclosure study and field observation,” the company explains.
In fact, the odourous volatile chemical is the same “responsible for the skunky-like aroma and flavour defect in light-struck beer,” it notes. That smell “comes from hops, which are in the same plant family as cannabis and hemp.”
The “skunky” odour that many people find objectionable has been been tied to terpenes, which the team notes are commonly associated with such things as citrus and other fruit aromas. But 321 MBT looks like a better “skunky” fit since it “supports the more persuasive expectation of a sulphur component within the chemical profile of the cannabis plant emission.”
But plenty more work needs to be done. “Leaf enclosure studies reveal other thiols present in the plant emissions and, more importantly, other compounds in the plant’s gas-phase emissions and atmospheric reactions may significantly affect the perception and measurement of 321 MBT,” investigators say, adding efforts are continuing to further evaluate cannabis odour and identify how best to mitigate it.
Export licence means Canntab can take part in large Australian study
Health Canada has green lit Ontario-based Canntab Therapeutics Limited’s export licence application, paving the way for the company to fulfill a massive order from Cann Global Limited for products to be used throughout Australia.