The cannabis industry is growing at a fantastic rate. Innovative products and business are continuing to pop up despite the threat of monopoly. Lately, we’ve seen the term “craft cannabis” frequently used within the media and the industry. There is no doubt that growing quality cannabis is truly a craft, and understanding the genetics is both an art and a science. With generations of hemp and cannabis farmers growing both indoors and outside in the Kootenays and the lower mainland, BC has clear strong roots in the growing community, guaranteeing the craft will not soon be forgotten.
However, with corporate interests growing, some fear that “The age of artisanal marijuana might have already peaked, and the era of corporate pot [is] just beginning“. Can corporate cannabis ever be considered craft, or are the two mutually exclusive? In this post, we look at what “craft cannabis” means to the community of cannabis patients and connoisseurs.
What Is Craft Cannabis?
What does it really mean when you describe cannabis as “craft”? One article we found on Roottie suggests that craft cannabis means more patience, care, and attention to detail during the process of growing and curing the product. The article also lists a few other defining characteristics including:
- Organic methods over pesticides
- Sungrown over artificial light methods
- Exceptional packaging (like a glass jar with UV protection)
- Hand trimmed over machine trimmed to retain trichomes, and therefore the plant’s potency and medicinal value
Unsure of where these defining characteristics came from, we sought to find out what “craft cannabis” really meant to the people that make up the cannabis community. So we conducted our own survey and asked a community of cannabis patients and connoisseurs what “craft cannabis” meant to them.
Here are the results from the 44 responses we collected:
- Independent/non-corporate growers- 16
- Organic/not using banned pesticides or chemicals- 12
- Small-scale batches- 8
- Unique strains- 3
- Potency- 2
- Terpenes/flavour- 2
- Variety of products- 1
It seems like having independent growers that are not corporate-based is a critical factor when it comes to defining “craft cannabis” for our community members. This is followed by organic methods, small batches, and then unique strains. One community member suggested that breeding CBD strains could be considered “craft” as it requires employing the best practices for strain development, using top nutrients, and drying/curing methods which all come from years of experience. Many suggested it simply implied small scale non-corporate grows akin to “mom and pop” shops.
From this data, we can see that the primary concern of the cannabis community is maintaining the integrity and quality of the product by keeping operations small and independent ensuring better control for quality. There didn’t seem to be much demand for outdoor growing, but rather more concern for contamination via chemicals and pesticides used. This definition doesn’t seem far off from the accepted definition of craft breweries which are usually small companies with an independent streak, but the results also did not align entirely with the characteristics outlined in the Roottie article.
There is a farmer’s market kind of vibe to the definition of “craft cannabis” provided by the community. It paints a picture of passionate growers giving individual attention to each plant while committed to organic methods, thus yielding a more potent flower that is richer in delicious terpenes. With such a meticulous and holistic approach, growers would easily be able to control the genetic evolution of their strains, eventually developing signature strains, much like the unique recipes of craft beer breweries.
Perhaps it is possible for corporate cannabis to achieve “craft” quality and status, but that would depend greatly on how they approach their growing operation. Hopefully, investors interested in dipping their toes into the cannabis industry don’t overlook the importance of the craft for the sake of cultivating the next “cash crop”. It would be a shame if “craft” became another marketing buzzword. We encourage anyone looking to invest in cannabis to seek education from the experts who have been doing this for decades, the ones who have perfected the art before politics could catch up.
We would love to see “craft” cannabis maintain the wholesome meaning of our survey responses, and that those who claim these standards do so honestly by upholding the best practices. In the end, perfecting the craft is the best way to yield a product that is both high quality and authentic, and as our survey responses suggest, the cannabis community is quite keen on authenticity.