Winnipeg Cannabis grower branches out into Grow-Pods

Posted Jan 16, 2019 by Karen Graham
Winnipeg-based Delta 9 Cannabis has added a new venture to its budding craft-grown, high-quality cannabis business - Grow Pods - renovated shipping containers, built in-house utilizing Delta 9’s standardized hydroponic growing methodologies.
Delta 9
Delta 9 was founded by father and son team, Bill and John Arbuthnot, in 2012. They obtained their license to distribute medical cannabis in March 2014, becoming the 4th Licensed Producer of medical cannabis in Canada.
Today, the company has grown from two to 150 employees and has an 80,000 square foot production facility in East Winnipeg. During the months leading up to the legalization of recreational marijuana sales, CEO John Arbuthnot spent most of his time in planning for his company's first pot store.
There were numerous supply agreements to finalize with other cannabis producers as well as the expansion of the company's secure growing facility. It was during this time that Arbuthnot got a call from a cannabis producer who had read about Delta 9's grow pod system.
The caller wanted to know if the company would sell him some of its grow pods to help in getting the first phase of his operation off the ground. That one call was the beginning of a new business venture and a rather unique revenue channel for the business.
Delta 9 Grow Pod System
Delta 9 uses the grow pod system in cultivating its over 20 genetically unique strains of cannabis. The pods are basically renovated shipping containers that have been converted in-house into grow pods.
The pods are modular, scalable, stackable, and now available for purchase. The systems come with Delta 9's standardized hydroponic growing methodologies. This allows for complete climate control and vertical space utilization, along with built-in risk mitigation measures.
Arbuthnot has gone one step further, providing complete start-up materials as well as support to new and existing cannabis growers. From Genetics (plants) and Grow Pods to consulting services, Delta 9 helps new growers to get off to a good start in business.
One advantage of using the grow pod is that there is a reduced risk of crop failure. "We've already heard horror stories from the rest of the industry on some major crop losses at big open greenhouse facilities," Arbuthnot said. Basically, it's all about quality control.
If a crop is somehow contaminated, either by a plant disease or fungus, in one of the grow pods, it is contained there because the pods prevent air flow from one to another. "If there is a risk of contamination, it's contained within one area and that risk is mitigated," he says.
"From a risk mitigation standpoint it's a very attractive production model," Arbuthnot said noting his company has patents pending for the grow pods in both the U.S. and Canada.
It's all about innovation
Allan Rewak, executive director of the Cannabis Council of Canada, the national organization for Canada's licensed producers, says that Delta 9's grow pods are just one of many innovations marijuana producers are coming up with to get their product to market. "It really showcases, I think, the incredible excitement, creativity, and growth we're seeing in Canada's cannabis economy."
There are other unusual and innovative solutions being used in Canada. One such business is cannabis producer Green Relief, which has a facility near Hamilton. Green Relief has a 30 000 square-foot facility and grows marijuana aquaponically - using fish waste as fertilizer.
"There is so much diversity in terms of production and so much variability, it's hard to point to one specific example," Rewak said. "Instead, I would point to the entirety of the industry and see what we're doing."