“Once you have a license for growing, you need to understand how to do this"

“There are a lot of steps to take, and this takes time,” says Nic Easley, CEO of 3C Consulting. “Once you have a license for growing, you need to understand how to do this: how are you going to clone? How are you going to protect your genetics? How much space and staff are necessary to take care of each of those steps thus coming up with a templatizeable approach that ensures a thorough control and offers metrics to analyze. In this way, if you make a change to one of the different variables, you can see the effect on that instead of changing 30 different things at once and just thinking ‘this is working or not.’”

The challenges of a nascent industry
Indeed, as Nic pointed out, medical cannabis growers face many challenges in this nascent industry. “A number of growers are not as efficient as they should be,” he explains. “That’s because they may lack experience in commercial production, they are not used to all the regulations and lab testing they need to comply with, and they are not very knowledgeable with regards to what technologies are available for them. I have met growers who thought that they still needed to water the plants by hand, which, needless to say, is not efficient at all. With 3C, we are reeducating growers in commercial agriculture.”

According to Nic, if one has experience in large-scale agriculture, then they might have very good chances to be successful in the cannabis sector as well. However, not everyone can rely on such a background, and therefore they resort to experts that can show them the right path. “We help companies understand the complexities of this industry, and especially of the different regulatory framework.”

A scattered situation
The situation of regulatory environments around the world is very scattered. Each of the countries that legalized the production of cannabis came up with custom regulations. This thing is especially exacerbated in the US, where a few states regulated the industry, but, at the same time, each jurisdiction within said states differ from one another. “Each market is a little different, especially from the license side and what these allow to do,” says he. “Take Denmark, for example. Denmark was the first country outside Canada to set up a program involving export as well. Therefore, people started buying licenses there, hoping to export their products in the future. Thing is, the Danish pilot program is very demanding on an economic level, thus preventing companies from winning contracts on the one hand, and complying with such high standards on the other.”

“And not only that. Growing such a crop in Denmark is extremely costly, because of the weather conditions, the high standards one has to comply with, and the high cost of labor there. This is why I think that the future leading countries in the cannabis industry will not be places like, say, Denmark, or Canada. But rather, Portugal and Colombia, for instance. In other words, the major players in the future will be those countries where it is possible to produce high quality cannabis at a low cost.”

The future of cultivation
Obviously, Nic is especially referring to outdoor and greenhouse grown cannabis, as he believes that indoor growing will become smaller and smaller. “In the long term, outdoor is better, from a sustainability and low-cost/high-quality standpoint. Similarly, greenhouses also will take over a huge portion of the market. Already now, there are so many different types of highly technological greenhouses that afford the same type of control that an indoor facility has, while utilizing the sunlight at the same time. Only this aspect can save up a substantial amount of the total operational cost. However, at the same time, it depends on the market that one intends to tackle.”

Indeed, Nic points out that if the end product one is going for is dried flower, then the best choice would not be to go growing outdoors in Portugal, for instance. “Then, in this case, I would advise to grow in one of the latest types of greenhouses, such as a basic plastic-cup greenhouse, or a GMP glass fully enclosed light dep facility, and so on. Indoors should be used for tissue culture or R&D only, as greenhouses allow to take over the market with a more sustainable product. As long as the greenhouse is EU-GMP certified, it would also be possible to market dried flowers – this is where the market is going to be. I would also advise to go GMP for dried flowers, and then with regards to outdoors, GACP for the growing and then GMP for the extracting.”

Thus, Nic is very much aware of where the cannabis industry is going to be a few years from now. “As I said, countries like Colombia, Portugal, but also North Macedonia and Greece will be the best ones to grow cannabis in: high quality production with low operational and labor cost. At the same time, other countries like Canada or Denmark will refine their programs, thus making them better for their sectors to thrive. These countries are not particularly suitable for growing, but they are great places for the finished product. Also, I am expecting some big announcements by the UN and the WHO in the near future that will better define the regulatory environment, thus opening additional markets.”

 


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