By Dave Harrison
Sept. 16, 2016, Smiths Falls, Ont. – Tweed Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canopy Growth Corporation, has opened a state-of-the art cannabis breeding facility within its Smiths Falls headquarters.
It is believed to be the first of its kind in the industry and will form the foundation of new Canadian-bred genetics for Tweed and its customers.
Tweed has taken a major step towards evolving the way cannabis is bred and selected for commercial sale.
Working with the best breeders in the world, such as DNA Genetics and its own Master Breeder, the company and its partners are now ready to embark on the exciting journey of creating new proprietary genetics by selecting male and female plants with desirable traits, and breeding new strains under strict controls.
“With few exceptions – like Bedrocan Canada who obtained world-class, standardized genetics from Dutch cannabis pioneer Bedrocan Beheer BV – most Canadian producers including Tweed have relied on starting from scratch using other people’s genetics,” said Mark Zekulin, president of Canopy Growth Corporation.
“For the past two years we have been refining the phenotyping process to refine the best plants in our genetic bank, and working with our partner DNA Genetics to enhance our processes towards perfection.
“Now we’re venturing into unchartered territory by breeding our own strains, unique to Tweed customers, and launching seed production for customers who choose to explore growing at home.”
Tweed’s R&D capabilities have also evolved to service this new approach. In-house researchers will soon be capable of selecting seeds based on genetic traits in a lab rather than growing them out and evaluating them as mature plants, a process that can take years and occupies valuable production space.
“Around the world, the best breeders are more artists than scientists,” said Kevin Furet, Tweed’s master grower and breeder. “I wouldn’t say it’s a technologically advanced discipline. Until now it’s been about sight, smell and instinct. We can still do all that but with the new breeding facility we can reinforce and refine our decisions with hard data from the lab. This is what the Tweed brand is all about, driving quality and variety through innovation.”
With the construction and installation complete, Health Canada will be invited to inspect the new rooms before they are brought online. Tweed’s proprietary strains will be finalized by early 2018, with advance access to Tweed patients in 2017.