Ottawa, the capital of Canada, will allow outdoor cultivation of cannabis crops as a perk to new producers wanting to be competitive in the soon-legal cannabis market.
Ottawa officials have just unveiled new regulations on cannabis, which outline rules for cannabis production and sales. Cannabis, will be legal for recreational use in Canada Oct. 17. “Our decision to allow outdoor grow under strict rules is the result of extensive consultations and will contribute to creating a diverse and competitive legal cannabis industry with the ultimate goal of displacing the illegal market,” said Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor spokesman Thierry Bélair.
Part of the effort came from CannTrust Holdings, Inc,. which has been preparing for outdoor production besides its Niagara region greenhouse in Ontario. The company’s Chief Executive Eric Paul said the grower has developed a new seed that doesn’t need to be exposed to light for 12 hours, then in complete darkness the rest of the day. The cannabis would cost less than 25 cents per gram to grow.
Paul also said that CannTrust plans on outsourcing the outdoor operations to local farmers along with assisting in getting seeds and licensing. The lower quality cannabis could be used for oils or edibles.
“Outdoor definitely deserves to be part of the production mix in Canada. It’s the most environmentally sustainable way to cultivate cannabis,” said Dan Sutton, founder of Tantalus Labs. “Outdoor cannabis has a far lower cost of entry than building greenhouses and it can certainly cannibalize that mid- to low-quality product that is being produced right now.”
There are some risks with outdoor production of cannabis, including the security requirements that are more easily achieved in a greenhouse or warehouse production location. The Cannabis Canada Council called on the Senate earlier this year to ban outdoor growing. The lobby group, which includes major licensed producers, argued the crops could be exposed to pesticides from surrounding fields or stolen and sold on the black market.