Indiva contracted to supply joints to Ontario Cannabis Store

Indiva contracted to supply joints to Ontario Cannabis Store

Cannabis users soon will be able to buy and spark up legal, made-in-London joints.

You can’t legally buy recreational pot at any store in London yet, but soon Ontarians will be able to spark up legal, made-in-London joints.

London-based cannabis grower Indiva has inked a deal to supply the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), the province’s pot wholesaler and monopoly online retailer, with pre-rolled spliffs.

But unlike those doobies passed around at parties and concerts, Indiva is taking a scientific approach to its joint-making process.

Not only are joints DNA-free – nobody licks the papers or handles them with bare hands – but there’s also no rolling involved in the making of each half-gram spliff.

“They’re vibrated,” Melissa Kurek, Indiva’s director of operations, said of the process.

Inside a windowless 27-square-metre room at Indiva’s Hargrieve Road headquarters, three workers collectively make 1,500 joints during an eight-hour shift.

Outfitted in white suits, hairnets, shoe-coverings and gloves, the employees look more like scientists than professional joint makers. They start by filling a large metal bowl with pre-ground cannabis, while 453 paper shells that come pre-rolled with a filter at one end and flared at the other, are placed filter down in a honey-comb-like metal tray with the flared end up.

Marijuana is spread evenly across the tray, which is placed in a machine which “cycles through different vibrational settings to fill all the cones to a consistent fill and pack,” Kurek said.

A worker weighs each joint to ensure it contains a half-gram of cannabis before doing a visual inspection for any abnormalities.

Finally, a staffer uses a metal poker to push in the excess paper at the end of the joint before it’s packed into a plastic container.

“We do sort of a twist and fold method,” Kurek said of the final step.

Three-hundred joints are packed like sardines into each container. The container goes in a zipper-sealed bag that’s placed inside a tote before it’s placed in the company’s vault, where other pot products awaiting shipment are stored.

Indiva is the latest cannabis company to sign a supply agreement with the OCS, a move chief executive Niel Marotta called “gigantic.”

“The OCS will be, by far, the biggest legal cannabis purchaser, at least on a wholesale basis, on the planet for the foreseeable future,” Marotta said.

Available in two different strains, Indiva’s joints will be sold in packages of two through the OCS website, and eventually at brick-and-mortar marijuana retailers once they open in April.

London is on track to get one of Ontario’s first 25 recreational pot shops. Christopher Comrie submitted an application to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), the province’s pot regulator, to open Central Cannabis in a commercial plaza at 666 Wonderland Rd., north of Oxford Street.

Indiva’s joints will appear on the OSC website in the next few weeks, said Marotta, who didn’t provide an exact date.

“We want to be able to provide products to Londoners as soon as possible,” he said.

With Canada’s cannabis industry projected to be worth $5 billion by 2021, according to a recent report, Indiva is turning its attention to the lucrative recreational market.

Last month, the company announced a partnership with an American firm to set up an extraction operation at its south-end facility. The move comes as marijuana companies across Canada are preparing for the introduction of pot-infused edibles, concentrates and topicals to the market in the fall.

“We’ll have a lot of new product introductions in 2019,” Marotta said, noting Indiva is in supply talks with at least two other provinces.

“As we scale up, we’ll look to ink supply agreements with them as well,” he said.

This article was originally published by The London Free Press.