Growing govt. pot locally

Two cannabis growers in Kelowna will join 31 other companies across Canada in producing recreational cannabis for the government, come legalization this fall.

B.C.'s Liquor Distribution Branch will be the sole legal wholesaler of non-medical cannabis for private and public retailers in the province when the plant is legalized nationwide on Oct. 17.

On Wednesday, the province announced the LDB has made agreements with 31 licensed cannabis growers across Canada to supply product, 12 of which are from B.C.

Two of the producers, DOJA Cannabis and THC BioMed, are based out of Kelowna.

“We obviously believe that we have some pretty good-quality product in a market that has a lot of already-existing discerning consumers of cannabis, and I think what they'll find what we've got coming out of the Okanagan Valley will be top-drawer, premium cannabis,” said Will Stewart, vice-president of Hiku, the parent company of DOJA.

Stewart says the cannabis they'll be supplying will all come from the DOJA facility in West Kelowna, while THC BioMed says they'll utilizing a network of “microgrowers” to source some of their product from.

“We're definitely very excited on entering the recreational market, and we're looking forward to working with microgrowers to help with our supply and demand,” said Cleo Menezes, executive assistant with THC BioMed.

THC BioMed has agreed to supply the LDB with 2,390 kilograms of cannabis in the first year of legalization, while Stewart at Hiku was unsure of the exact amount DOJA will be supplying.

THC BioMed and DOJA currently grows cannabis for medical uses, for people registered under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations.

The province says they'll be offering more than 150 strains, ranging in quality from “value to ultra-premium,” once legalization occurs.

“The volume, variety and quality of our product assortment speak to the LDB’s commitment to working towards eliminating the illicit market,” said Blain Lawson, CEO of the LDB.

The LDB says they entered into supply agreements with all “appropriately-licensed producers” that are able to supply sufficient volume of cannabis.

Additional producers are expected to be added as demand increases following legalization.

Also on Wednesday, the government announced the first government-run recreational cannabis dispensary will be located in Kamloops. 

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