The first time I arrive for a tour of OrganiGram's cannabis-growing facility, I miss my turn and drive right by the campus. I can be forgiven for thinking my GPS has failed me. From the outside, the buildings in the small industrial park in Canada's east coast province of New Brunswick are nondescript, and there's also no signage. You wouldn't guess these buildings contain the inventory and innovation behind one of Canada's only organic producers of medical marijuana.
Only when Ray Gracewood - OrganiGram's Chief Commercial Officer - greets me in the parking lot, do I know I'm in the right place. Then he leads me through the front door, and my nostrils are greeted by the unmistakable fresh, grassy aroma of cannabis. Outside the building, there isn't so much as a whiff of the plant in the air.
Later, Nico Hache, OrganiGram's affable head of Grow Operations who leads our tour, admits that sometimes the odors will cling to his clothes when he leaves the facility at the end of a work day, which can get him some strange looks in supermarket check-out lines.
But the smells are all natural, as Hache is quick to explain. OrganiGram's product is organic, with all-natural inputs and no waste or byproduct that can't be composted. You won't find any harsh, chemical fertilizers or toxic pesticides at OrganiGram. The plants grow in organic soil, fueled by the same factors that influence plant growth on any farm, but grown indoors with all of the safety, controls, and checks demanded of a pharmaceutical company in Canada.
"We use no harmful pesticides or fertilizers, all our inputs for growing the plants are naturally derived. The big thing as well is the environmental impact. All our waste that comes off the plants, our soil, our leaf, is 100 percent organic," says Nico Hache, Head of Grow Operations, OrganiGram
The formula seems to be working: Yesterday OrganiGram announced strong Q3 results.
Hache's passion for growing quality cannabis is immediately evident as we make our way through the tour. As our group moves from watching cuttings being started in tiny pots, to larger rooms full of vegetative plants, to even larger rooms where the plants flower and get harvested, Hache punctuates every step with a mix of insightful education and expertise (massive buds don't mean massive amounts of THC), a gardener's pride and passion (it took him awhile to find the absolutely most photogenic bud among thousands for a close-up), to humorous anecdotes (I'd love to include one, but off-the-record is off-the-record).
Hache's love for the plant is on full display in the following video produced by the Civilized. He explains OrganiGram's approach to growing cannabis this way, "The plants are the boss."