A large medical cannabis operation in Oro-Medonte Township is celebrating now that its products have gone to market.
In 2018, Carmel Cannabis began construction of its 20,000-square-foot greenhouse as well as a 13,500-square-foot facility for processing, packaging and trimming on Line 7. It received its licence from Health Canada in July 2019.
Last week, Carmel Cannabis co-founder Roey Fishman, chief operating officer of Natural Care Group, announced the products are now available for sale.
“It’s an incredible excitement that our entire team feels,” he said. “It’s been a lot of hard work, a lot of passion by everyone to get here.”
First on the market for Carmel Cannabis are three strains, all of which are sold in dried flower form at three-and-a-half grams each. They are Animal Face (sativa), Garlic Breath (indica dominant) and Drew’s Dark Helmet (indica dominant).
The company will eventually expand its offerings to include pre-rolls and will introduce new strains in the coming months.
The products are available on the Ontario Cannabis Store website and at participating retail cannabis outlets.
Anyone can purchase Carmel’s medical cannabis, but Fishman urges people to do so “with the guidance of a physician or, at least, a medical cannabis educator,” who can advise buyers about the appropriate strains and doses.
Fishman praised his company’s “unique” approach to producing and harvesting cannabis. Research and development is an ongoing focus, he said, adding Carmel also slowly dries its cannabis by hanging and hand-trims the product to preserve its look and aroma. It is cured in barrels for at least two weeks.
“That’s really speaking to a craft process that’s paying homage to traditional cannabis growing,” he said.
Carmel’s focus is on “rare breeds and limited grow,” he added.
“Cultivating cannabis cannot be done on a large, mass scale if you want to grow a craft product.”
While Carmel had its licence issued and facility open prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation has presented some challenges for the company.
“COVID-19 was an extremely difficult event that has impacted everybody. We’re very fortunate that we’re not impacted as much as a lot of small businesses out there,” Fishman said, noting it was deemed an essential service.
However, the company did have to get creative when it came to physical distancing. Work also slowed earlier in the year when retail cannabis stores were ordered closed as a result of the pandemic.
Despite those setbacks, no one was laid off, Fishman said.
Carmel employs 20 full-time staff members, as well as part-time workers as needed.
Fishman thanked the community for its support and all of the staff members for their hard work.
More information about the company can be found on its website.