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Canada’s Wine Country Turning Towards Cannabis

marijuana and wine

Cannabis legalization officially begins tomorrow in Canada on October 17th, but the economic impacts are already being felt across the nation. Cannabis commerce is expected to grow rather rapidly with shortages expected at first as beginning supply levels are unlikely to keep up with demand. With consumers flocking to brick-and-mortar stores and online websites to be a part of history, greenhouses in areas once known for wineries are now filled with cannabis, as Yahoo reported:

(Director of operations Kevin) Epp started Up four years ago with his chief executive Jay Wilgar, who quit a job in the energy sector to jump into the budding cannabis sector. They spent Can$4 million to acquire the greenhouse, which had been used to grow orchids, and adapted it to grow pot. The company is now valued at Can$420 million on the Toronto stock market.


Staff say the job has not changed much. Growing orchids or pot plants, there’s not much difference. However, cannabis crops earn a much higher return — as much as four times more, compared to top vegetable or flower crops.

It is also in higher demand, requiring more staff. Up boosted the number of employees from 20 to 140 in just the past year, and plans more hirings in the new year.

Wilgar stated that they hope to take the Up brand internationally, “We’re also looking at what’s going on in Europe, (we’re) certainly looking at (what’s going on) in South America and Australia, but those markets are still so, so young right now, that we’re not spending a lot of time and money and resources developing them yet,”

It is an exciting time with exciting opportunities for Canadian entrepreneurs. Hopefully, small farmers and mom-and-pops will be able to survive and thrive, one reason that the International Cannabis Business Conference was proud to host Canopy Rivers’ Pitch Day that invested in a micro licensee in the previous Vancouver event. New rules and regulations will pose difficulties for smaller businesses, but the high demand provides chances for farmers of all stripes to move into a more lucrative market. If demand continues to exceed the supply, we’ll likely see even more greenhouses converted across the Great White North.

Don’t miss the opportunity to network with top investors and entrepreneurs and learn the latest industry trends at the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco on February 7-8, 2019. Purchase your early-bird tickets by January 18th to save. After San Francisco, the ICBC heads to Europe for events in Barcelona and Berlin. 

Canopy Rivers, Jay Wilgar, Kevin Epp, Up