The largest outdoor organic cannabis farm in Canada is now in operation. With the recent legalization of the plant, the market is now starting to boom and this industry leader is blazing the trail. We sat down with Allison Gordon, the CEO of 48North and Good:Farm to see what lies ahead.
Tell us a little bit about 48North and Good:Farm
48North Cannabis Corp. is a vertically integrated cannabis company focused on the health and wellness market through cultivation and extraction, as well as the creation of innovative, authentic brands for next-generation cannabis products.
48North operates Good:Farm, a 100-acre organic cannabis farm that produces organic, sun-grown cannabis, securing a significant first-mover advantage in the production of low-cost, next-generation, extract-based cannabis products. We are the largest outdoor organic cannabis farm in Canada!
48North has a growing portfolio of brands that include Latitude, a women’s cannabis platform; Mother & Clone, a rapid-acting sublingual cannabis nanospray; Avitas, a single-strain vaporizer cartridge; Quill, a leader in the manufacturing of beautifully designed, lifestyle-focused and sleek vape products; Sackville & Co., a design-forward line of cannabis products; and Apothecanna, high performance topicals.
What is the difference between indoor grown and outdoor-grown cannabis, and what can the customer expect from the product?
Growing cannabis in an outdoor facility is more sustainable than indoor or greenhouse production. Outdoor cultivation also serves as a more cost-effective way of producing cannabis-based products. As a consumer of outdoor cultivated cannabis, you can expect to feel at ease, knowing you are buying an eco-conscious and sustainable product.
The cannabis industry in Canada is being compared to the wine industry in terms of the initial challenges that are needed to be overcome. The wine industry is now a multi-billion dollar industry. Where do you see the future of cannabis going, and what specific challenges are you facing right now?
Within the first year of legalization, we can already see the major impact that cannabis has on the Canadian market. We see the future of cannabis to be organic and outdoor. If you look at legal markets in the US, retailers cannot keep organic cannabis on the shelves. We feel Canada will also trend in this direction.
We also know that next-generation cannabis products are what consumers want. We know that vapes, topicals and edibles are the future of the market, the cannabis grown at our Good:Farm will be used to develop these new products.
With this being a sustainable farming operation, what particular practices are being implemented and how will this affect both the product and the land you are growing on?
48North looks at the Good:Farm just like any other farm in Canada. The only difference may be, our crop is very very valuable. We are practicing traditional farming practices, relying on the rain for irrigation and the energy of the sun.
An outdoor crop seems like it may be at high risk of theft. What security measures are you putting in place?
Going into this project, we understood there was a need for heavier security measures. At the Good:Farm our entire property is surrounded by 8,300 feet of chain-link and barbed wire fencing. In addition, we have installed video cameras and implemented infrared and vibration sensors across the entire property. We track every person who enters and leaves the facility- security is of the utmost importance to us.
This is a historic moment that will forever change the future of the cannabis industry in Canada. How are you documenting this monumental experience?
We wanted to bring fellow Canadians along on our journey, so we created the See The Good Series, a web series which focuses on the challenges and lessons we learned when you take cannabis from seed to sale. It also features the amazing people at our farm, many never thought they would be working on one of Canada’s largest cannabis farms!
48North and Good Farm is a trail-blazing company. How are you staying ahead of the curve and what can we expect to see next?
To stay ahead, we often look to the maturing U.S marketplace, namely California. That said, we beat by our own drum. We know that brand and product will eventually win the day. Our focus is on giving our current customers what they want and developing products that future customers, who may have never even consumed cannabis, will want in the future.
This is a huge operation. As the first of its kind, what advice would you give to other companies looking to do the same?
Do not be afraid to try something no one has ever done before. Hire smart and passionate people and learn along the way. No one has it 100% figured out.
How have you seen the female relationship with cannabis evolve since it became legal in Canada?
We have done research that highlights that women are more likely to be stigmatized by the consumption of cannabis. We work every day to normalize cannabis and fight the stigma surrounding the plant. Women often look to other women when making decisions around cannabis, to that end, we launched a magazine called Latitude which features the personal stories of women using cannabis and sharing their experiences with the plant.
Being in a male-dominated world, what are some of the barriers faced by women in the cannabis industry today? How do you overcome them?
As in any of the major industries, there is a glass ceiling that women are trying to break through. I am lucky to have female mentors and partners that help every day to break that ceiling. Unfortunately, we live in a world where money is power and the worlds of banking, finance and public markets are predominantly male. Women need exposure to the language of these worlds if they are going to be CEO’s and Directors of public companies (and private!). I don’t have a lot of answers right now but I’m definitely thinking about ways to expose women to these worlds and teach them this language.