Calgary chef Andrew Craik is getting out of food and into marijuana production in wake of the federal Liberal government’s promise to legalize the drug.
A sous chef for more than seven years, Craik is now pursuing a bachelor of applied sciences degree with a focus on horticulture from Olds College with the hope of one day starting his own grow-op.
“All aspects of this industry are fascinating to me,” he said.
Craik is not only interested in the production aspect of the program, but also the education he will receive in operating an agricultural business.
“Even if the whole weed thing doesn’t work out, I’ll still be able to produce fruits and vegetables,” he said. “I’m entering a field that will never be unneeded, regardless of what I’m growing.”
Craik’s friend, Alexander Dunn, is supportive of Craik’s decision to change careers.
“This will be a good career move for Andrew,” Dunn said. “[It is] something that’ll really play into his interests and challenge him.”
Marijuana is not currently legal for recreational use in Canada and is only available to consumers based on medical needs.
When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was elected in October, he vowed to begin work immediately on the legalization of marijuana, and the morning after the election stock prices increased for many publically traded marijuana companies.
“I’m trying to get ahead of the game,” Craik said. “Lots of other people are also going to have this idea.”
Canada-based companies like Aphria, Mettrum, Tilray and Canopy Growth Corporation have been approved as legal grow-ops within the country to supply marijuana for medical needs, and are moving to fill the new commercial market expected to be created upon legalization.
I’m entering a field that will never be unneeded, regardless of what I’m growing. – Andrew Craik
“Tilray is really fascinating because they’ve treated it all scientifically,” Craik said. “They give you a detailed breakdown of the strains they’ve crossed, by per cent, to produce the product they sell on the market.”
Tilray owns one of Canada’s largest grow-ops out of Nanaimo, B.C., with the company looking to expand its size by up to five times, a plan that was approved by the Nanaimo city council in December 2014.
Craik said his goal is to one day open his own supply operation, but he is also willing to join an already established operation if that doesn’t prove fruitful.