Science

Buying Cannabis Directly from the Producer: It’s Legal in Ontario

Ontario now allows licensed (federal licensed) cannabis growers to open a retail outlet in the same location where their plants are grown. It is called in English model farm gatein other words sale on the farm.

Sensi Brands was one of the first in the country to open a business of this kind. His shop was called station house was opened in September last year next to the halls of culture in the small town of St. Thomas.

According to Tony Giorgi, CEO, this model has several advantages.

In Ontario, all licensed marijuana growers must go through the government agency Ontario Cannabis Corporation (OCS) to sell their products, which are then redistributed to retailers. In the case of a shop station houseSensi Brands should also deal with OCS

Tony Giorgi is the CEO and founder of cannabis company Sensi Brands Inc.

Photo: Radio-Canada/Yan Theoret

So you have a local product that is quickly processed and packaged, stored here and fresher. And we save some expensessummarizes Mr. Giorgi.

Contacts with clients

Cannabis is an area where there are a lot of taxes, a lot of taxes, and there is a store.”farm gate“, this gives manufacturers a bit more controlnotes Lucas McCann, chief scientist at CannDelta, a cannabis regulatory consultancy.

These stores also facilitate direct exchange between producers and consumers, he continues. So because of that I think that’s what [les intéresse] a lot of.

Federal law is very strict about advertising for manufacturers, who have very little means of communication to explain what their products are.recalls Michael Armstrong, Associate Professor Goodman School of Business from Brock University. Thus, he says, such interaction is valuable for the industry and also allows manufacturers to learn more about what customers are looking for.

Tony Giorgi, for his part, believes that the aspect of intimacy in farm shops makes it possible to break down certain barriers in relation to the world that remains mysterious. He believes there is an educational opportunity here.

In our store, we project images of our grow rooms so that customers who enter them can see the plants growing live.he describes.

People like interactive experience, personalization.

Not quite like a vineyard

But this model still has its limitations, Giorgi notes. In the vineyards, the experience also usually goes through tasting, which is not possible in cannabis shops like farm gateas consumer fairs are currently not allowed.

For Executive Director Sensi Brands, being able to offer samples on site would be the next logical step.

A sign in English reading

The phrase “farmgate” refers to selling from a farmer or manufacturer.

Photo: Radio Canada

The industry would like to have these places of consumption because it’s another way to meet the needs of consumers, it would be good for demand.notes Michael Armstrong.

On the other hand, from a public health point of view, this is worrisome, because the Canadian approach to legalization is actually a “harm reduction” approach.

Still new

At the moment the model farm shops cannabis remains relatively marginal anyway.

According to the Ontario Commission on Alcohol and Gambling, as of July 18, 2022, 25 licensed cannabis growers have applied for retail operator licenses and 14 for retail shop permits (two licenses are required in Ontario to open a retail outlet). selling marijuana). , regardless of its shape).

Only 4 of these producers have completed the process and opened a store, while there are about 1,500 cannabis retailers in the province. ordinary.

Elsewhere in the country, New Brunswick has also recently opened its doors to shops like farm gateand regulatory framework expected in British Columbia. (New window).

Lucas McCann is convinced that cannabis has much more to offer the travel industry.

Lucas McCann at his company office.

Lucas McCann, chief scientist at consulting firm CannDelta

Photo: Radio-Canada/Dean Garipy

But in Ontario, we are only allowed to have a cannabis shop.”farm gate“by producer, he notes. It is also not an easy model to grow everywhere, as plants require a certain amount of space to grow. There are no production sites in the city center. Very often in premises remote from tourist places. So this is a challenge for these manufacturers.

It’s an interesting experiment, it could be an interesting retail component, but I don’t think it will become very big.Michael Armstrong for his part predicts.

To use the analogy again, visiting a vineyard, a distillery or even a farm remains a special experience, he notes that we live once in a while and which requires travel. But for the rest, most people buy wine at the Régie des alcools, we buy our products at the grocery store, our pharmaceutical products at the pharmacy, we don’t go to the manufacturerthe shop around the corner remains more practical.

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