It’s been almost a full year now since Canada legalized the recreational use of marijuana, and it seems that everyone and their brother has been climbing on the cannabis bandwagon.
From sleep aids and ointments for aging joints (the body kind), to stress management, pain management, and just plain old “having a good time” – there is a buzz about cannabis.
… and yes, the industry is riddled with plays-on-words.
It’s been more decades than I care to admit since my toking days and if it’s one message I’ve been getting over and over again, it’s that today’s weed is not the same as the stuff of my youth.
You had to have known it would be just a matter of time before I would begin to poke around wondering what all the excitement was about. I blame my brother who introduced me to edibles earlier this year … and yes, I know, edibles still aren’t legal in Canada, but they should be by the end of this month. Call him an early adopter.
… and so it was that Deb (Widow Badass) and I went on a side trip last weekend while on our way to the Ottawa area. You know … intellectual curiosity …. strictly for research purposes …
It’s unlikely you’ve ever heard of the small town of Smith Falls, Ontario – located about 45 minutes from Ottawa.
It is the home of Tweed, a cannabis producer owned by Canopy Growth, the largest cannabis company in Canada … or second largest, depending on what source you read.
Once a bustling community, Smith Falls was gutted when their primary industry – Hershey Chocolate – closed their plant here in 2008. Like so many other North American industries, Hershey production was moved to Mexico.
The facility sat empty for several years and was slated for demolition, however in 2014, along came Tweed and a plan to use this facility as a medical marijuana grow-op.
Its operation grew as the legalization of marijuana became imminent and let’s just say that Smith Falls is booming again.
Even without the aid of our GPS, we knew we were in the right area from the undeniable odour that subtly drifted in the air. It was Deb who detected it first … even before we were out of the car.
We were enthusiastically greeted in the Visitor Centre by one of my nieces who works for Tweed. They love visitors but are not allowed to do any promotion – including the “come and visit us” variety – so they rely on word-of-mouth.
Not only did we have a lot of fun, the tour was really quite interesting – at least to me. I had questions – many of them. Like, did you know there is no difference between medical-grade and recreational cannabis?
Tweed’s growing license is based on square footage, not yield, which is what I had originally thought. It is up to the facility to maximize the use of the square footage for which they are licensed.
Nor are the plants grown from seeds. The resulting offspring from each seed would be somewhat different from its ‘parent’, so to ensure consistency in the crop over and over again, they use cuttings from a ‘mother’ plant.
The lighting used in each room is different. Spring/summer light is used to stimulate growth in the Mother Room and Nursery, and late summer/fall light is used to stimulate flowering in the Harvest Room. I don’t remember our guide actually using these terms to describe the rooms so it’s very likely this is my own fabrication.
I was also surprised to learn that they are allowed to use only the flowers. The leaves and stocks of the plants are subsequently destroyed. We weren’t given details on how exactly that was done, but it’s all shockingly wasteful … in my humble opinion.
Nor did we witness the harvesting process.
While the tour and our guide were both fantastic, it wasn’t flawless.
Disappointment #1 – no free samples. What kind of tour doesn’t give you free samples? Just saying. Health Canada with all their rules and regulations can be such a buzz-kill.
Disappointment #2 – nor were we allowed to run with wild abandon through the marijuana plants. As a minimum, I had visions of strolling through the crop discreetly rubbing against the fragrant plants like a purring cat.
Disappointment #3 – the day of our visit was supposed to be the first day of chocolate production at Tweed. Yes! Chocolate production is coming back to Smith Falls in this former Hershey plant. However, Day 1 of “production” appears to have been devoted to only “equipment checks”. Not a single bar of chocolate was to be seen … or savoured.
The first bars of cannabis-infused chocolate from this facility won’t be available until February. February!!! That is how long it is expected to be before approvals from Health Canada are obtained for this new product. This is a strictly regulated industry.
In the meantime, the underground market for edibles continues to flourish …. not that I would know much about that sort of thing …
Oh, I almost forgot. It’s Thursday and you’re probably expecting a door …
The closest I could get our guide to explain what was behind this door was a comment that this area is used for hosting ‘special events’. My imagination took over from there.
If you’re still with me at this point, thank you. It’s been a much longer post than usual and I appreciate you staying for the whole tour. If you’re ever in the general vicinity, I hope you’ll stop by and say ‘hi’.
Yes, it too is a pun.
Thursday Doors is a weekly photo feature hosted by Norm 2.0. You can sample a wide variety of doors at his place every Thursday. Stop by. Tell him I sent you. You’re not likely going to get any cannabis but I’m told he makes an amazing chocolate chip cookie.
Anyone else got the munchies … ?