A “cannabis farmgate” sounds like a scandal involving a cannabis farm. Like Watergate or “Pizzagate.” In reality, a cannabis farmgate refers to a cannabis farm licensed to sell its products on site. This style of production and retail is becoming more popular, with three farms in Ontario now taking this approach. New Brunswick also has three farms under this type of licence. British Columbia so far has only approved a First Nation farmgate. Still, they say they plan to open the licensing up to everyone.
This approach to cannabis production and consumption is popular among consumers for various reasons. It allows them to see where their cannabis is grown and meet the people producing it. It means a quicker turnaround time from seed to harvest to shelves. And a lower carbon footprint since the products aren’t sent to government distribution warehouses.
How To Get A Cannabis Farmgate
There is a two-step process in Ontario in getting your farm approved for direct sales. First, you need to apply for a ROL (Retail Operator Licence), which can be costly, up to $10,000. Second, you’ll have to submit an RSA (Retail Store Authorization).
Many licensed producers have made it through the first step. Still, only three in Ontario have received their RSA and are in business. They are:
Medz Cannabis (under Royal Cannabis Supply Company)
Sensi Brands (operating as Station House Cannabis Co.)
In New Brunswick, two cannabis farmgates are:
ECO Canadian Organic in Rexton
Crystal Cure in Shediac Cape
New Brunswick’s latest cannabis farmgate store, Sana’a Craft Cannabis, opened on 4/20. The CEO, Veronica Flores, says, “We’re really excited about it. It’s taken a while to get here. We’re starting small but down the road, I think we’ll be able to offer a full retail experience to give New Brunswickers more choice,” adding, “People feel that they are getting a fresher product when they buy it from the grower.”
“When they come into our store, we have folks on hand that have knowledge of how the product was grown and can speak specifically to the strains. Our guys are familiar with everything we sell. They know how it was grown, what the terpene profiles are, what the smells are, and what the known effects are.”
What The Future Holds
Cannabis farmgates are the latest innovation in the Canadian cannabis industry. Although not a new idea, cannabis farmgates were not part of the original legalization plan, despite stakeholders asking for them. With regulations loosening and cannabis acceptance becoming more mainstream, the prospect of more farmgates in the future looks promising.
And why not? Canada has plenty of wineries that hold tours and have tastings. While consumption on-site is still illegal for these farmgates (whether in New Brunswick or Ontario), there’s hope for the future. While British Columbia is launching its farmgate program this year, they are also talking about legalizing consumption sites. With consumption sites and farmgates, all one needs is a bed-and-breakfast, and a vibrant Canadian cannabis tourist industry is within reach.