By the end of this month, VIGR Life Cannabis Inc. (VLC) plans to begin growing what it calls "premium craft cannabis" for distribution across Canada. But first, it needs to get the grow-op's logistics — including its watering system, temperature and humidity rate — just right.
Rick Turchet, VLC's president and CEO, said it was a long time coming to get to this point. After many long conversations and lots of paperwork, he and his team of Regina entrepreneurs were granted the Health Canada cannabis cultivation licenses to launch their business earlier this month.
From there, Turchet said they found a building in a Regina industrial area and bought 24 growing pods from Manitoba's Delta 9 Cannabis. With that came an agreement that Delta 9 would buy all of VLC's product in the first year, and sell it in its retail stores and others across the country.
"We looked at this hard for a long time," Turchet said. "We thought we could create some jobs, a great business and see where it takes us."
To start off, he said VLC will create six jobs. By the end of next year, Turchet said they hope to roughly double that to about 12 or 15 employees.
For now, Turchet said VLC is made up of a handful of Saskatchewan-raised people who have experience in other startups, consumer packaging and growing medical marijuana.
Prior to weed legalization in 2018, Turchet said a couple of people on his team had their medical pot licenses, allowing them to grow their own cannabis. Right now, he said their expertise will help guide which strains of marijuana they decide to grow.
"They were able to time test different plants, cultivars and were able to figure out a way to get high yield cannabis — and that's the key: you want a high yield, high quality cannabis," he said, noting that — paired with an elevated terpene content — is what separates craft marijuana from the rest.
Toward the end of the month, Turchet said they're expecting to get their first order of plants and will begin growing from there.
"We're excited to be in the agriculture capital of Canada — if not the world," he said. "We're going to learn and, as we continue to do it, we're going to grow."
Down the road, Turchet said VLC would like to become fully integrated with the end goal being to grow and process its own cannabis, and to run its own retail stores.