Being a part of the Cannabis industry’s growth has made Cleo’s work with THC BioMed, one of Kelowna’s oldest licensed producers, that much more meaningful. And they’re just getting started in a rapidly accelerating industry, where the long-awaited potential is now becoming a reality.
When THC Biomed was founded in Kelowna in 2012, the goal was to create a cannabis product that was accessible to all medical patients at a reasonable price. As one of the oldest licensed producers in Canada, the company was able to start researching and studying how to grow cannabis in a legal, regulated environment thanks to a rare exemption research 56 license they received. This allowed their team to select the best strains possible from around the world to cultivate, while also developing their own proprietary strains.
While the market for cannabis has grown thanks to legalization, THC Biomed remains focused on delivering high-quality, affordable, and accessible cannabis strains, which they grow sustainably in small batches, indoors.
“We hand water all our plants…if you have everything automated, you’re not really looking at what the plant needs. Some plants need a little bit less water, and some more. So, we mitigate this by hand watering,” says Cleo Menezes, who started with the company in 2014 as the Head of Corporate Sales and now works in Corporate Communications. “We grow our plants in soil and don’t use any pesticides or exogenous chemicals. We just keep it really simple. We grow them organically in dirt, with pure nutrients and lots of love.”
Sustainability and accessibility are at the core of THC Biomed, which is a publicly traded company that now employs around 40 people at its flagship Kelowna facility. As a pioneer in the industry, the THC Biomed team is always looking for innovative ways to deliver cannabis to the wide variety of people who use their products. One of their newest products is a flavoured cannabis beverage shot, a first among the cannabis beverage market, which typically comes in cans and bigger bottles.
The versatility of the cannabis plant, and the diversity of its consumers, fuels the THC Biomed team’s passion and creativity, as does the region that they call home.
“Our valley is home to wineries, craft breweries, beaches, and we’re also growing our arts and culture sector, celebrating more and more local talent. The Okanagan is exciting and progressive and growing so fast, it’s a truly fantastic place to work and play.”
Looking forward, the company wants to expand into other provinces and is excited about the farm-gate sales program currently in development by BC’s provincial government. Cleo notes that the local government and organizations like the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission recognize the cannabis industry as a significant driver of economic growth in the region. This support and growth also extend to the region’s tourism industry—in the spring of 2022, Kelowna successfully hosted the inaugural BC Cannabis Summit and the CannaGolf Classic.
“It makes me feel very confident in the future of the industry because now that we’re finally being recognized and marketed alongside the other local core industries, it means the massive potential that has always been here is now turning into a profitable reality,” adds Cleo. “There are lots of benefits to running the business here, there’s lots of opportunity for growth and expansion, so that’s a big benefit to being in Kelowna.”