In August 2016 the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) was released as part of the long awaited Supreme Court revision of the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, which had been deemed unconstitutional in the case of Allard et al v. Canada. A myriad of regulations were announced in August to make up the new program. Along with the reinstatement of the right for Canadian patients to grow their own cannabis came some new rules and regulations. One of the most significant changes stipulates that patients must obtain all of their starting materials (i.e. seeds and clones) from only one of the current Licensed Producers (LPs) – companies licensed by Health Canada to grow and sell cannabis for medical purposes.
The Canadian medical cannabis community is not keen on that solution: “I don’t expect many patients to buy clones or any starting material from LPs,” says patient advocate Brian Kierans. “There will be no actionable way for Health Canada to check on every medical to make sure they are only using LP genetics. [It’s] impossible. Seed companies will do well.”
Crop King Seeds are currently available in 500 stores across the country; primarily head shops, hydroponics stores, pain clinics, and dispensaries.
Their logo is a familiar sight as the company is a regular sponsor of many cannabis events across the country. remaining politically “very neutral” to the changes. “Our average customer is a 47 year old woman named Deborah,” the representative said, “and we make sure the customer is happy. We hold their hand from start to finish.” Crop King offers growers something else that LPs cannot: “We guarantee on germination, and we have thousands of customers around world willing to help you be successful with your grow on our forums.”
When asked if the new regulations that come along with the ACMPR will have any affect on their business model, the representative stated: “The changes don’t affect us. For the LPs, the financials don’t make sense. To produce seeds in large quantity, without doing a large volume is not worth it, too much work for a low profit margin.- the numbers just don’t make sense, they’d need new warehouses, new facilities.”
Maxim Zavit President of Emblem, an LP based in Paris, Ontario, agrees.
“As a company, we have no problem with grow your own, it doesn’t hurt our industry. There will always be a demographic of people that wants to grow, but we know how hard it is to consistently grow high quality cannabis medicine, but as far as genetics – even bigger LPs don’t want to get into the business…they have never been open to selling genetics…there are only a handful of facilities that can even do it. It doesn’t make a lot of business sense: once the patient has the clones they are not coming back.”
Maxim points out that in consultations with Health Canada LPs were ignored when they made their concerns about the new regulations clear. He says that LPs are having a tough time procuring their own genetics within the confines of the law in a competitive industry. In the past LPs could get their genetics from any grower under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations; however, when the newest regulations shut the door on that, options became extremely limited.
“Health Canada doesn’t get it. They’ve never stepped foot in a dispensary, gone to a LIFT conference, or researched seeds on the internet. They don’t understand that it’s not a viable business because people will go to LPs once to get the paperwork and then never come back. Health Canada doesn’t understand these seeds and cuttings are ubiquitous everywhere. There is a robust seed industry already in Canada… the joke is on LPs on this one.” Maxim informs us, “the infrastructure, paperwork, [and] standard operating procedures wouldn’t be ready for at least a year.”
Health Canada rolled out the program prematurely leaving the legal cannabis industry without adequate time to prepare. As such, the Licensed Producers are ill equipped to handle the demand for seeds and clones at a competitive price point which consequently leaves room for distributors such as Crop King to continue on with business relatively unhindered.