Parkland Flower’s co-founder, Kieley Beaudry, participated on a panel with other micro license holders in June for the GrowUp Conference and Expo. They discussed the challenges and successes that come with being a micro cannabis grow operation.
Below you can find a transcript of some of the topics Kieley covered during the discussion. But if you want to watch the entire discussion (it’s worth your while!) then please check out following video.
On Parkland Flower and what we focus on:
“Parkland Flower mainly focuses on genetics. We cultivate for seed production. We are moving into flower production as we move out of the spring season. We’re excited to bring some flower to the market for the fall and winter. We’ve been operating for almost nine months now under a Health Canada license. This company has been in the making for three years. It’s been a very interesting journey.”
On working with added layers of regulatory agencies:
“When we were operating prior to legalization, as a small operator, in the unregulated market, you only really had to worry about cultivation and keeping your operation going. Whereas now you have this additional layer of work. You not only have to work with Health Canada, but you also have to work with the CRA. You have to complete two different filing reports every single month, detailing how many seeds and plants moved, if you flipped them into flower, and you have to keep up all of those records accurately. So, you need to have someone with good administrative abilities who can really focus on that.”
On added administrative costs as a result of legalization:
“We first started in Alberta and in the beginning Alberta had a blanket $10 million liability for recall insurance. I’m also the founder of the Alberta Cannabis Micro Licensing Association, so we wrote a presentation to the AGLC basically detailing what the risk was for seeds. Thankfully, they reduced it for seeds and micros, down to $2 million general liability. Ontario has a blanket $15 million in recall insurance required. The ACMLA and other micros in Ontario wrote a lot of letters, wrote to the OCS, spoke to a lot of folks there, and they did reduce it to $10 million. Which is substantial. Our insurance is about $50,000 a year just to sell seeds into Ontario. $10 million in insurance does not reflect the overall risk. I think it’s overly burdensome. If you want to sell directly to these provinces, it is an additional cost you need to look at. You’ll need $50,000 to $60,000 in additional funds to sell into those provinces directly.”
On finding out if cannabis cultivation is actually allowed on a piece of land you have:
“Anyone who’s operating an ACMPR or an MMAR or coming in from that side of things, you apply for your Health Canada license and then off you go. The difference when you transition is now you’re dealing with municipalities. You have to notify the municipalities about your intentions with what you’re doing. And you might have a facility you might want to transition over but it might not be in an area that’s zoned for cannabis production and that’s what happened to us at the very start of our operation. We had a piece of land we were going to build on, but it wasn’t zoned. There was things we had to build, there were roads we were going to have to build to stay within the building codes and the compliance of the municipality. So, we scrapped that idea and ended up leasing a building instead. It took us four months to lobby our local municipality to open up the zoning. In Parkland County, cannabis production was only allowed in Agriculture General and then in 2019 they hosted a cannabis open house and we attended that. We were some of the only people in the room that actually understand what indoor cannabis cultivation was. They were only going to open it up to two or three other zones and we worked with hem and consulted with the municipality. I spoke at multiple council meetings and got them to open it up to eight zones, to allow for production.”
On choosing the right location for your cannabis operation:
“An access to an urban centre gives you access to things like analytical testing. We have Keystone Labs literally 20 minutes away from our facility. We can just drop off our samples. Choosing your location is really key because testing was not a requirement in the legacy side. Some people did it because that was a part of their thing. They wanted to make sure their product was safe. But it is now a requirement. Make sure your access is close because it’s not just the cost of the actual test, it’s the cost of the logistics to get your product there and back. That product has to be shipped securely. And that shipping cost is a lot more expensive than just throwing it in the mail. It has to be shipped very specifically. There are a lot of additional costs that are kind of hidden that you don’t realize until you’re in operation.”
On why Parkland Flower decided to focus on genetics:
“Seeds is a challenging market. We are competing directly with unregulated seed breeders. That’s okay, that’s where we came from. With seeds, not a lot of licensed producers did it. It’s kind of a niche. The reason we did go for it was to get that distribution. We are now in BC, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick, Alberta, and possibly the Yukon very soon. We also have our processing license and we are going to be processing dried flower and extracts and possibly some other 2.0 products, and now we already have those distribution channels established. Now we have those relationships built. So when we sell seeds to them we can tell them about the exciting flower products we have coming. So you can get them excited about something early. It was a way for us to get our name and our brand out there sooner.”
On the effects of legalization:
“I am so grateful for legalization. I’m a mom of three kids and when you’re operating in the legacy market it makes you nervous. Not living with that burden has improved my home life substantially. It’s challenging and there’s tons of frustration but if you look at the large companies that came before us and the amount of money they had to spend and the challenges they went through, they paved the way for us and made it that much easier for us to come through.”
About Kieley Beaudry
A cannabis user for 25 years, her personal journey as a caregiver using cannabis therapies started in 2013 when her father-in-law was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, a series of brain tumours. To help him sustain quality of life, Kieley and her husband researched and made cannabis oil when they found his options for cannabinoid therapies were limited during end-of-life care.
As a mother to an 8-year-old daughter who lives with Cystic Fibrosis, Kieley’s research extended further into her family life as she began treating her daughter’s symptoms with cannabis. These experiences led to Kieley devoting her time to other families, helping them navigate treating their children who live with chronic disease or illness holistically with cannabis. She encourages parents to be responsible for their cannabis consumption while advocating for the normalization of cannabis as part of a healthy family dynamic.
Kieley has applied her years of intense research of cannabis into developing different oils, topicals, tinctures, lotions and suppositories from legal cannabis products while helping people navigate Canada’s medical cannabis program. Kieley also has developed an interest in the connection between cannabis and sexual health, taking the taboo out of both topics by talking about each openly and honestly through her platforms.
A mother, entrepreneur, and self-described “serial student,” Kieley is also the Founder and President of the Alberta Cannabis Micro License Association.