They don’t consider themselves a boutique Delta operation, but rather a bigger craft cannabis grower focusing on the higher end of the market.
That’s what Jesse McConnell, co-founder and CEO of Rubicon Organics, says about his product which is being grown at a 125,000-square-foot former vegetable greenhouse on 104th St. in East Ladner.
Cultivation of “super-premium organic cannabis” using several selected strains from an extensive genetic library is expected to result in a first harvest this September. Work is currently taking place to retrofit the remainder of the greenhouse into a new state-of-the-art facility over the next few months.
Once fully developed, Rubicon expects to cultivate about 11,000 kilograms per year, a smaller total than some of the much bigger greenhouse operations that have converted to cannabis in Delta.
McConnell believes that’s perfectly fine, since they intend to set themselves apart from those the larger-scale growers.
“We’re trying to do things a little different here. We’re trying to be kind of small batch excellence, that kind of craft community feel. Our approach is to say there’s a commodity end to the spectrum here, but there’s also a really premium end. For people who really love cannabis, that’s the type of product we’re growing. We spend extra time with it. We grow in certified organic soil and manicure the plants in ways a commodity grower wouldn’t really do,” he said.
“We’re not looking to be just the biggest volume producer out there, we’re looking to produce the nicest quality product with those rich terpene flavours with those exciting psychoactive effects. We’re positioning ourselves more as a large-scale craft producer,” added McConnell.
McConnell stressed Rubicon is fully organic product, which results in a better product, while the vast majority of other growers are not.
The company is using the same proprietary cultivation methods as what’s used at its Washington State facility, which successfully completed its first harvest this April.
Noting they’re focused on sustainability and community, he, noted they’re the first cannabis producer in Canada to have a provincial environmental farm plan, which follows stringent standards including having almost net zero environmental waste.
He also noted among their practices is an integrated pest management program that uses no pesticides or fertilizers.
McConnell added, “We think this is really exciting for the community and the culture at large, but we also recognize there’s a lot of stigma associated with cannabis. I think our environmental farm plan is a way of saying to the community we’re good neighbours. In fact, we’re better neighbours than a lot of others.”
Noting they have an extensive odour management system as well, McConnell said they’ve been communicating with the City of Delta from the beginning of the retrofit.
Rubicon’s recreational brand launch will be this October.
“Everything gets sold through the provincial liquor distribution boards. What we have in the marketplace right now is not enough product to begin with and even less high quality product. We’re not just trying to grow as much as possible, we’re trying to have the best quality. That might mean lower yields sometimes. That might mean a little higher costs on certain things, but what we’re trying to offer our consumers is a really interesting, exciting experience for people who love cannabis and not just “what can I get for 20 bucks.’”
Asked if there could be an oversaturation of product in Canada, McConnell noted that may happen, but it won’t be the case when it comes to high-end craft brands.