By MAGGIE M, Editor, http://thewedge.LIVE
You can’t walk into the Tweed ‘campus’, Smiths Falls, unannounced. There are no public tours and for good reason. This writer climbed the front steps and pressed a buzzer. That’s what happens when you shift a building from chocolate to cannabis.
Let this be your public tour.
I entered the social hub of Tweed, a vast lobby with umpteen sitting areas, a popcorn trolley, a pool table and a bank of machines that produce cappuccinos. It seemed all Google-like. Forward-thinking workplaces are becoming more playful.
Jordan Sinclair, Communications Director, was my tour guide and a fountain of information on all things cannabis, Tweed, AKA Canopy Growth Corporation.
My bags were removed from me (reluctantly) and sequestered. I was handed my hat, a green helmet (I wonder if that’s code for CAUTION : MEDIA), a white lab coat, a rubber band for my hair, and a pair of slippers to cover my shoes. I expected to be retinal-scanned and finger-printed! They skipped these steps.
The motivation is less security than it is cleanliness. No spores, molds, pesticides or molecular intruders can penetrate these walls and reach Tweed’s inner sanctum where product is nurtured with absolute care to achieve purity. The place was spotless. We happened on an employee scrubbing the edge of a hall floor with a small brush.
My visit was other-wordly. This could be the set for a sci-fi. Quiet. Antiseptic. Can you say Area 51? I digress.
The Moms Room is where all life begins at Tweed–where some of the purest cannabis in the world gestates under closely monitored conditions. Water and nutrients travel through the plant’s pipes until it arrives for ‘intravenous’ absorption from each planter. Fans throughout promote air circulation. Grow lights dot the ceilings.
I came upon an ominous door sign, adjoining Moms’ Room, that sent me back to the sci-fi analogy : the Clone Room. I channeled Rick Mercer and posed with a robotic expression beside the sign. This drew a guffaw from Sinclair; I am after all practicing for our comedy series.
We circumnavigated the plant, almost all 168,000 square feet of it. Some places were sacrosanct; industry secrets were visible to my eyes but forbidden by my camera. The Trim Room was the busiest, housing approximately fifty employees, trimming leaves from the flowers. The precious cannabis oil emanates from the flowers; their colours can range from lime green to purple. Different colours are different strains.
The precious oil contains THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) renown for its soothing, medicinal properties. It is effective in treating chronic pain including nerve pain. Patients with Chrone’s disease, HIV, cancer and even epilepsy number among those who benefit from THC. There are patient reports of epileptic seizures dropping from twelve to zero per day with select Tweed strains.
The Extraction Room is where the final product is drawn from the flowers. The many strains are isolated here into a variety of oils.
I won’t dance around the topic of side-effects; they tend to be positive ones. Frankly, if you are in poor health, pain reduction and calm are desirable outcomes which contribute to healing. Endless peer-reviewed studies show stress as both cause and acceleration of disease.
Just over a month ago, Tweed Inc., took-up the balance of the former Hershey plant, Smiths Falls, to ramp-up for growing, global demand and new by-products. That’s another 292,000 square feet. It’s parent, Canopy Growth Corporation, now reaches across Canada and as far as Germany and Brazil thanks to its IPO and deep pockets.
ABOUT CANOPY GROWTH
Tweed Inc. and Tweed Farms Inc. are wholly-owned subsidiaries of Canopy Growth Corporation founded in 2009. Today, Canopy is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange as WEED. (The best letters I have ever seen for a listing.)
The foresight of Bruce Linton, Founder of Canopy, is noteworthy. The political backdrop to medicinal marijuana in Canada is unprecedented in the entire world. Indeed, this nation leads in the domain, in research, in development and marketing. Tweed is headquartered in Smiths Falls, Ontario; but, it operates from seven plants including acquired brands, Bedrocan, Verte and Mettrun, and four Tweed Main Street storefronts in Barrie, Guelph, Etobicoke and Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Hershey is remembered inside. An old sign remains on a far wall. It is for most a good memory.
Now, new memories are forming with a Canadian original of scale. Canopy is re-energizing the region from Hershey Drive. The externalities of the plant’s growth are exciting. The company now employs 500; imagine the HR manager’s task ahead.
I muse, will the road be renamed Tweed Drive one day?
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