One of Canada's biggest cannabis companies is venturing into the world of "craft" cannabis, and it will have big implications for a Kelowna-based firm that is on its way to becoming a licensed producer.
Yesterday, Valens GroWorks announced that it signed a supply and sales agreement with Canada's largest producer of legal cannabis, Canopy Growth Corporation. (For those not familiar with the company, some of its core brands include Tweed, Bedrocan, and Spectrum. It’s also partnered with Snoop Dogg.)
As Valens awaits its production licence from Health Canada, President Saul Katz told the Straight by phone from Kelowna that the company has taken a "very high science approach" to cannabis cultivation.
It currently has two dealers' licences that allow it to grow cannabis for research and development purposes, and recently announced collaborations with the University of B.C. and Thompson Rivers University, Katz said.
Lucky for Valens, the team at Canopy took note.
"For us, [the deal] means that we have the validation from the largest cannabis company in the world, whose team is doing amazing things," Katz said.
"They recognized the capabilities that we have and that we'd be a great partner for them."
Once Valens has its licence, Canopy Growth has agreed to purchase up to 100 percent of its production as part of its CraftGrow program, which Katz said will allow Valens to accelerate its growth.
Canopy will help with marketing, distribution, and sale of Valens’ Kelowna-grown product.
Jordan Sinclair, Canopy's director of communications, said in a separate phone call that investing in companies like Valens gives it an opportunity to expand its product offering by include more craft cannabis options.
"What we really want to do is offer more than just our own products in our shops, and that's the whole genesis of the CraftGrow program—it's to push beyond the limitation of just offering our own product," he said.
Sinclair said feedback from customers seeking more quality and variety spurred the decision to create its unique CraftGrow program.
Valens is one of six producers that Canopy is currently working with. Sinclair said agreements are specifically tailored to individual companies.
"One of the most attractive things about it is you get access to a big, active group of customers," he said.More