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Mike Toniolo, TB Farming:

Switzerland: “The market is asking for indoor quality grown in greenhouses”

Medical cannabis has now been fully legal in Switzerland for over a year, and the adult-use pilot projects are also taking off. Since 2016, TB Farming has already been a part of the market, producing CBD products. “We were the first company to have our CBD flower in the Swiss supermarkets. We developed a genetic that has 23% CBD and under 1% THC,” says Mike Toniolo (Founder and CEO) of TB Farming. During the following 7 years, the company has certainly continued to make progress. “Since the end of 2022, we have been in possession of the Swissmedic operating license for the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes. Since 2021, we also have a THC research license from the FOPH, under which we continuously develop and evaluate cultivars in order to find those really special, unique strains. On top of that, we also participate in the pilot projects.”

Organic production
TB Farming has an indoor facility, as well as a biologically certified greenhouse, and outdoor cultivation. As a vertically integrated company, they carry out all steps in cultivation internally, from the mother plants to the final processing. “We focus on boutique, small-batch cannabis production because we want to provide the highest quality possible. The bigger the production is, the more challenges you have with controlling the environment. Moreover, we have a slogan: hang dried, hand trimmed, hand tended. That’s our mission. It’s a slower process, but it keeps the flavor profile and quality optimal.”

For the pilot projects in Switzerland, growers are required to grow either outdoors or in a greenhouse at a location that is biologically certified. “We were really happy to find a greenhouse with a bio certification where we can grow to high-quality standards. The customers in Switzerland like the quality of indoor production. With this greenhouse, which has additional lamps and shading, we’re able to produce an indoor quality product in a bio-certified greenhouse: organic cultivation under GACP standards,” Mike says.

A developing market
Since last year, it has become easier for Swiss doctors to prescribe flowers and extract, Mike explains. “Before August of last year, doctors needed an exemption, which led to a lot of paperwork. Now, it has become much easier for them to prescribe medicinal cannabis products, which is great for the market to develop. Yet after just one year, the doctors and pharmacies don’t have a lot of knowledge about cannabis flowers yet. So, education is important. At TB Farming, we’re working on a software solution that helps patients to find the right doctor and pharmacy.” Yet overall, the stigma around cannabis is decreasing. “Cannabis is slowly not being seen as the devil’s lettuce anymore, it’s becoming more normalized. The pilot projects will help to provide the government with the data of what impact legalization could have on society and individuals.”

It is still challenging to convince investors of the potential of cannabis, according to Mike. “Many big players burned through a lot of money in a not very methodical way. For example, a lot of companies bought big greenhouses on the coast of Portugal. Yet the humidity is so high, making it very difficult to grow medical cannabis there. Now, some of those companies have already exited. These companies are throwing away a lot of money, which is sad for smaller family companies like ours that are now struggling to find funding.”

“While the industry is suffering from the mistakes made by the big players, we definitely see a good future for the companies that are putting in the work and doing it the right way. You want to be acknowledged for being a high-quality producer. That is why we’ve always aimed to grow boutique cannabis according to GACP standards,” Mike concludes.

For more information:
TB Farming