Our Trip to Cowichan
Coast Range visits Cowichan licensed producer United Greeneries and chats about BC's new BC Indigenous Cannabis Program. Vancouver Island Cannabis Road Trip! Island road trip! On a gorgeous bluebird day in February, the Coast Range team rolled down to Duncan to visit local island grower United Greeneries. 51% owned by the Cowichan Tribes, United Greeneries is BC's first licenced producer a part of the new BC Indigenous Cannabis Program.
The 16,000 sq. ft facility sits just north of Duncan's charming downtown. President and CEO Phil Floucault – a Duncan local - kindly offered us a tour and rundown of BC's new Indigenous Cannabis program. On arrival, Phil enthusiastically greets us by saying, "Ok, first things first – did you get your hands on the Bombers?!" he asks. We told him we managed to grab a few cases of their new pre-rolls for each store. The "Bombers" that Phil talked about is a new pre-roll, milled flower with THCa diamonds added – giving each a potency of around 40%. **Since our visit, we've had the pleasure of trying them and can attest they gave us a wonderful euphoric feeling. Phil attributes this to the diamonds.
Phil brings us through the office and immediately shows us a new product line they've branded as Hulit Botanicals, including a clay mask and facial serum. "We use traditional botanicals the Cowichan Tribes have been using for centuries!" stated Phil. The smell of each product was terrific, like wild mint and pine.
The new BC Indigenous Cannabis program promotes cannabis products from BC-based Indigenous producers. Developed in collaboration with the First Nations Leadership Council, the BC Indigenous Cannabis Product Program (the "BC Indigenous Cannabis Program") will help consumers identify Indigenous cannabis products in licensed retail stores.
Phil guides us into the main facility, an ample space that houses the watering system, staff admin area, and cleaning. Multiple rooms jut out on either side. The grown rooms and packaging are on our right, and hang drying and trimming are to our left. United greeneries employ over 50 full and part time locals.
The grow rooms were bursting with young plants stretching towards the LED lights. Cultivars like Candy Store and Gelonade proudly displayed youthful buds. The team was trimming off lower leaves; Phil explained they like to remove the lower foliage to promote light and C02 to the plant. United Greeneries is passionate about pheno hunting. What's a phenotype? It's the resulting seeds of the female plant when it's bred with a male to create a new strain. Pheno hunting is selecting the best phenotype of a strain for production. A lot of this is trial and error. Forward-thinking cannabis breeders will grow several phenotypes and select the most desirable ones. Phil showed us their stash of phenotypes like Moby Dick #1, Chuck Norris and Liberty Haze. Each container released smells of fresh cedar, lemons, skunk, butter, and so much more. Phil's excitement for the process was infectious. He explained United Greeneries believes pheno hunting is the only way to move forward. As a retailer, we couldn't agree more. At Coast Range, we focus on curating small-batch craft products of exciting new strains, which are typically the result of extensive pheno hunting.
Natural cannabis at its best that's what United Greeneries promises to its customers. High-calibre Federally licensed and tested craft growing practices unyielding to the pressure of the increasingly competitive legal cannabis industry.