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OCS Launches Craft Designation

With the launch of its new Craft Cannabis designation, the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) is starting to make good on its promise to bring some of the focus to smaller cannabis producers.

Following the approval of a handful of farmgate stores, the government-owned retailer added a new category to its website specifically for “craft” cannabis. At the moment, the classification includes dried flower and pre-roll products from 20 licensed producers.

What is Craft Cannabis?

While the term can seem like one of those vague buzzwords used in marketing, to create the category the OCS had to get specific as to what “craft cannabis” means.

To the OCS, the designation revolves around production. To qualify as a craft candidate, the product must be hand-trimmed, hang-dried, hand-packaged, and grown in a facility that produces less than 10,000 kilograms of cannabis per year. Producers don’t have to pay for the designation, only identify themselves as a craft candidate when submitting to the OCS’s product calls.

Why Promote It?

In the decade or so that cannabis has been legal in some capacity, some licensed producers have had the opportunity to grow into huge, publicly traded companies, however, since adult-use recreational cannabis was legalized, several small-batch, even artisanal, producers have thrown their hat in the ring as well. Like in any other industry, small businesses struggle to be seen in the competitive space, so a distinction like this could help bring them to the front of the crowd—or at least give a higher platform to stand on.

Not only that, but more and more customers are beginning to shop with brand ethics in mind and are interested in purchasing from small businesses or local producers. With this new category, it will be easier for customers to find a brand that aligns with their values. Cannabis in particular fosters a new kind of relationship between customer, retailer, and producer, and cannabis consumers who are passionate and knowledgeable about the plant want to be able to connect with producers and learn exactly how the product was created.

This commitment to shine a spotlight on craft cannabis, not only in Ontario but in other provinces as well, could be a perfect opportunity for Canada to do what it does best: grow.