The times really are changing, at least as far as cannabis is concerned. Not so long ago, the process for obtaining medical or recreational cannabis was both complex and time-consuming, but new legislation has made cannabis legal across Canada and many other countries, streamlining the process for businesses and consumers.
Recreational cannabis is now a reality, opening the door for exciting advancements in artisanal craft cannabis. Just like microbreweries and independent cafes that popularized craft beer and artisanal coffee, craft cannabis startups are jumping in on the new demand for homegrown, highly-curated cannabis.
There’s also evidence that these new regulations can actually benefit the government, business, and consumers. As cannabis legalization spreads, it becomes more socially acceptable. This, in turn, leads to safer, better quality products, as well as increased revenue. In Canada alone, there have been hundreds of applications (and counting) by businesses and individuals seeking to become license holders. Almost $4 billion in investments have been poured into the Canadian cannabis industry thus far, making it one of the fastest growing markets in the region.
So, what’s all the hype about? Let’s take a look at what sets artisanal craft cannabis apart, and the methods that growers use to make a superior product.
Craft Cannabis: The Basics
Licensed cannabis retailers have the ability to procure various strains and cross-bred hybrids, catering to a wide variety of needs and preferences. Consumers can choose from dozens, potentially hundreds of different strains at a craft cannabis shop.
But, what exactly is craft cannabis? Much like “craft beer,” the term is a little difficult to pin down with specifics. However, at its most basic, the term refers to cannabis that is not mass-produced. It is cultivated in a small, independently-owned grow house. In turn, this means that more care is put into the cultivation process.
What does this mean for the final product? Well, it generally means that each craft cannabis grower is able to produce a unique product that cannot be replicated elsewhere. In other words, you may find that you like the product of one artisanal craft grower over another. Needless to say, this makes the designation of “craft cannabis” somewhat subjective, as some people may deem the cannabis of one grower better and therefore more “curated” than another.
Nonetheless, the following qualities are shared by just about every artisanal craft cannabis grower:
- Relatively low production volume
- Small, independently-owned grow house
- Organic grow methods and materials
- No pesticides
- Knowledge of optimal cultivation practices
- Hand-trimmed cannabis flowers (versus machine-trimmed)
- Care and attention given to each individual plant
Some of these features are easier to identify than others. Each product will have a label identifying the grower, and most growers have a website and/or social media platform where you can get a better idea of the size and scope of their grow house, their business practices, and their general attitude toward cannabis production. This, in turn, will help you determine if they are an artisanal craft cannabis grower.
The Popularity of Artisanal Craft Cannabis
It’s easy to see why so many people have fallen in love with craft cannabis. Much like beer, coffee, pizza, or just about any other consumable product, when it is made with care and attention, the end result is much more enjoyable. Mass-production is great for reducing prices and making products more accessible. However, the end result sometimes favors quantity over quality.
As a result, demand is at an all-time high for specialized strains of top-quality cannabis. Many believe that small craft cannabis growers can coexist with larger corporations, just as craft beer does with its larger competitors. The popularity of artisanal craft cannabis rests on its superior quality and the care that goes into its production.
But is the quality that much better? Or are people willing to pay a little bit more simply because they see the words “artisanal” or “craft” on the label? Truthfully, buying artisanal craft cannabis is more than just purchasing a label. There are distinct features of craft cannabis that simply cannot be replicated by a machine.
One of the most important qualities for any cannabis consumer is the effect of the product. If it is too weak, then the consumer will feel cheated, like they spent their money on inferior-grade cannabis. On the other hand, many consumers may not want a really strong effect, as it can be a little overwhelming for the uninitiated.
Thankfully, a quality craft cannabis grower can develop different strains with varied effects and potencies. Since most recreational consumers prefer a stronger effect, it is also beneficial that craft cannabis growth practices generally produce more potent cannabis. For example, when mass-produced cannabis is trimmed by a machine, it often loses some of its potency due to the inattentive nature of the trimming process. This is much less likely to happen when you have a cannabis expert trimming the plant by hand.
Another benefit of artisanally-produced cannabis is the accent of natural flavors. Many consumers complain that mass-produced cannabis loses a great deal of its natural flavor during the cultivation process. This is primarily due to the fact that mass-producers do not cure their cannabis.
Generally, it is standard practice to grow the cannabis plants, harvest them, and dry the buds. At this point, the cannabis is technically ready for consumption, and most mass-producers follow these three steps and then package the buds for sale. However, if the cannabis is not properly cured (in addition to sound cultivation practices like quality soil, lighting, etc.), then the final product will be robbed of some of its natural flavors.
There is no precise way to cure cannabis, so artisan producers often experiment with different methods. Many believe that cannabis can even age like wine or liquor, bringing out the the best of its flavor and aroma with time. In any case, the curing process is just one more way that craft cannabis growers can deliver a unique service and continually improve their products.
While potency and flavor are both important, the overall experience of cannabis consumption probably matters more than anything else to the average consumer. Cannabis can produce many different effects, and people choose it over other products for various reasons. Some people want to have a relaxing experience and ease anxiety, while others use cannabis for medical reasons and pain relief.
Artisanal craft cannabis producers have the knowledge and freedom to experiment with their process to curate different experiences for the consumer. Essentially, a person can walk into a craft cannabis shop and request the exact experience they would like to have, and the artisan grower can pick the perfect strain for them. A decade ago, this would have been impossible. Now, you determine the kind of experience you would like to have and a craft cannabis grower points you in the right direction.
Obtaining a Craft Grow License
Do you have a passion for high-quality craft cannabis? Are you interested in becoming a producer of artisanal craft grower, but don’t know where to begin?
While the future looks bright for craft cannabis enthusiasts, there are still a lot of doubts concerning barriers to entry and legal red tape with such a new and ever-changing industry. According to one survey, nearly 50% of those interested in entering the cannabis marketplace were “not very confident” in their ability to do so. However, with the help of Cannabis License Experts (CLE), anyone can acquire a Craft Grow License and reap the rewards of the booming cannabis industry.
At CLE, we provide you with the guidance to plan your business, acquire funding, navigate the legal requirements, and acquire a grow license. To learn more about starting your own business and obtaining a craft grow license, consult our cultivation license page today!