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Lucien Pête, SwissExtract AG:

“We want to demonstrate the superior quality and benefits of organically produced Swiss cannabis”

"Our cultivation and manufacturing license for the Zuri Can project was granted by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), Switzerland's federal government center for public health, on March 21. We could hardly wait for this approval as we were already well prepared for what is coming. We started to research just over three years ago when we were granted a research license for high THC genetics. This is why we are now perfectly placed to start cultivating strains that are best suited to meet the requirements of the authorities," says Lucien PĂȘte, Head of Production and COO of SwissExtract AG. The company will be participating in the newly approved adult-use cannabis project in Zurich. "What sets us apart from others is our devotion to both sustainable organic production and relentless focus on our customers, both consumers, and authorities, and their demanding expectations on quality."

The founders of SwissExtract AG. From left to right: Lucien PĂȘte (COO), Dominic Sigrist (CEO), Stefan Strasser (CTO)

The Zuri Can project
"For Zuri Can, we are growing about 2500 cannabis plants to start with on a size of more than 1000 square meters in a state-of-the-art greenhouse tailored to our needs and to meet the special requirements of fully organic cannabis cultivation. Our most valuable asset is our team that combines decades of experience in organic farming with horticulture technology knowledge, and legacy cannabis culture approaches to create craft cannabis products that stand out and meet a variety of consumer needs," Lucien explains.

When it comes to the new adult-use project, SwissExtract sees a lot of potential. "We do see a big potential in supplying high-quality THC products that are strictly controlled and 100% traceable, as consumers are never sure which quality they get on the black market. This pilot project aims to prove that society can establish responsible cannabis use, given the right transparency and legal governance."

SwissExtract also hopes to contribute to a wider recognition and acceptance of a rational, science-based view on cannabis in Switzerland. "A strong motivation for us is this opportunity to demonstrate the superior quality and benefits of organically produced Swiss cannabis. This includes the development and implementation of new scientific consumer communication tools together with our international partner Cicada Ltd.," Lucien says. "We anticipate a competitive market environment with vast potential. As active members of the Swiss Hemp Association' IG HANF', we feel that key elements of rational regulation for the emerging cannabis market should be youth protection, education, and quality control."

Strict requirements
In order to be a part of the Zuri Can project as a grower, there are strict requirements to conform to. "First of all, organic cultivation is mandatory, this means that the plants must be cultivated in the topsoil. Container-based or hydroponic cultivation is not accepted. All materials and additives, like fertilizer and soil amendments used during cultivation as well as all other ingredients of finished products, must be compliant with the Swiss organic directive. Fortunately, we have spent a lot of time building the necessary skills in-house." Of course, THC limits must also be observed.

"The requirements are very strict and go beyond those in other regulated cannabis markets like North America or for other organic crops like herbs and vegetables. For example, pesticides must be absent, and thresholds for microbial loads are also comparatively low," Lucien says.

"When it comes to our cannabis products, what keeps us on track is our high internal quality standard that we agreed on as a company. We avoid synthetic products and use natural materials during cultivation. Whenever possible, we manufacture the necessary additives on-site. Since our options for pest management are very limited, one very important factor is to promote general plant health by working preventatively and maintaining a healthy ecosphere in your growing environment, most importantly the soil and plant starting materials. We implement traditional soil-building techniques like diverse green manure between crops as well as beneficial microbes and fungi. Since only 100% natural substances are used in the cultivation of our cannabis plants, we can guarantee pollutant-free products," Lucien explains.

For their genetics, SwissExtract was striving to find fine strains that perform well under their specific environmental conditions. "One of our main focuses is on resilience to pest and pathogen infestation as well as, of course, cannabinoid and terpene profile. For Zuri Can, we have selected three different Cannabis cultivars with varying cannabinoid profiles: one with the maximum allowed THC content of 20%, one in the mid-range of 12-13%, and one that shows a very balanced content of 10% THC and 10% CBD. First deliveries are expected in mid to late August 2023."

For more information:
SwissExtract AG