Sam, CEO & Master Grower at Micro Crops
3 Feb 2022
Interview with a successful Micro/LP
Photontek XT 1000w CO2 LED ceiling at Micro Crops Inc.
Micro Crops Inc. is proof that it is possible to succeed in the cannabis industry. Passion, hard work, and the desire to become one of the best in the business make Micro Crops a success story in the world of micro cultivation.
Micro Crops is a Licensed Micro Cultivator and Processor founded in May 2018 just ahead of legalization. The journey began in early 2019 with the construction of the facility and by September 2020, Micro crops was fully licensed and operational. As the name implies, Micro Crops was developed to prove that small cannabis businesses were feasible and financially profitable. MC is run by a dynamic duo of master grower Sam and his partner, who are also a husband and wife team in everyday life. The facility is 4000 ft2. with a canopy allowance maxed out. We optimize the allowed growing area and every square inch is used to make a superior product that helps make our reputation.
Since we've been doing business with Sam, we've been looking forward to the opportunity to learn more about him, his path, his experiences and his work.
We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview him, and here it is.
— Overview of the company —
What makes Micro Crops Inc. a successful business?
MC: We like to utilize our institutional wisdom to curate a variety of cultivars. At present we are growing the best cultivars in Canada for the largest brands in the market while leveraging the massive appeal for “small room grows” like the ones possible at Micro Crops. We aim for 25-30kg batch sizes.
‘’Craft is our way; we come from the legacy days and bring all that acquired knowledge to the legalized market.’’
MC: The founder and responsible person of Micro Crops is also the master grower, designer and constructor of the facility. Our tight climate control, small room, full spectrum LED lighting brings out great cannabinoid profiles and terpenes that are perceptually significant.
MC: 2022 will be a very great year for us. In late 2021 we teamed up with legacy legal brand Ghost Drops and are contract cultivating the best cannabis they can offer. This will be a great relationship and we look to see this path through. However, it will also be a year of significant change as we look to begin our application to expand our footprint to a second site. We are also involved in consulting with Indoor Growing Canada sharing our experience and supporting start-ups in the licensing process.
What is your vision for the company in the coming years?
MC: Our 5 years plan eyes for more expansion in capacity and perhaps some vertical integration into the genetics, consulting, retail spaces. Our current site is our flagship facility, so the intention was to prove we could thrive in this space and then scale the model. We keep a very lean operation through intelligent design in our facilities. Keeping workflows basic we operate at a minimal overhead and use automation and foresight to keep things growing. This allows us to maintain great margins and thus scalability is our next step.
— Certification process —
How did you feel about the certification process when you started the application?
MC: I was fairly confident, but unsure about the delays that could be experienced upon submission. Any delay in the application process presents an immediate impact to the start-up budget. It's not easy for Cannabis Micros to get financing or investments, so avoiding any delays and added expenses was top concern. This meant I needed a bullet proof application that would get through HC screening quickly.
How did the application process go?
MC: It went about as well as it could have. I submitted Dec 2019, cleared application pre-screening late January 2020. Then things went silent. For about 7 months… It was brutal… COVID had a significant impact on HC resources, file reviews were taking forever. Thankfully, with some “strategic persuasion” via emails to HC, my file was picked up for review. It flew through the review process and I was licensed by September 2020.
What were the obstacles/challenges in the process?
MC: Based on my experience, having a COMPLETE and thorough application got me through the process quickly. Once the file was picked up they didn’t have many ITRs (Intent to Refuse). Basically one ITR has a 15 day TAT, HC will stop all review of your file until the response is received. Then they will take another 10-15 days to review the response. All in All, one ITR can get you about 15-25 days delay on application review.
"SO YOU NEED TO AVOID ITRs!!!!"
MC: This is where I saw an opportunity to use my experience and help others. I now consult and assist those entering the industry in collaboration with IGC to get licensed and through the screening and review process seamlessly.
— Operations —
How was your first year of production?
MC: The first year was definitely interesting. We came into this industry with a lot of knowledge and had to re-learn some of our ways in order to be compliant with the regulations. The amount of paperwork required to run a cannabis facility is no joke. Its long days in the grow rooms followed by long nights in the office. But keeping up on the paperwork side of things has paid off, we recently got through our latest HC inspection with no issues. Needless to say, the first year has been both challenging and thrilling. We started off learning the ropes of legalized industry and ended with a strong reputation in the Canadian craft Cannabis space.
Interview credit : Carl Foisy and the kind participation of Sam from Micro Crops Inc.