Inside Aurora Cannabis: The World’s Biggest Grow

Welcome to Aurora Cannabis, a Canadian firm that’s redefining what constitutes an environment friendly, high-capacity cannabis-production facility. Take a tour of its large cultivation places, together with a gargantuan 800,000-square-foot greenhouse, and find out how this licensed producer continues to increase internationally.

Inside Aurora Cannabis: The World’s Biggest Grow

Danny Danko/ High Times

Northern Lights

Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Edmonton on the foot of the Canadian Rockies, Aurora Cannabis Inc. seems to be well-poised to take a large chunk of the multibillion-dollar authorized hashish business each in Canada and worldwide. Spearheaded by CEO Terry Booth, the corporate is publicly listed (TSX: ACB) (OTCQX: ACBFF) and now has a number of hundred staff—an intriguing mixture of business-savvy fits and cannabis-obsessed cultivators and processors.

Aurora is federally licensed by way of the Canadian Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulation program to develop and promote hashish and now has 4 state-of-the-art amenities all through the nation. What’s fascinating is that its operations are new, purpose-built constructions—particularly designed and constructed for hashish rising somewhat than repurposed present warehouses or retrofit buildings. The layouts are designed for max effectivity, and their closed-loop HVAC methods permit them to supply clear and protected medical hashish freed from pesticides, molds or any microbial infections.

Aurora additionally has a coverage of not using chilly pasteurization by way of cobalt-60 irradiation. Although another licensed producers might use this radioactive course of to sterilize their merchandise, the workforce at Aurora prefers to protect its terpenes from warmth and its flowers from radioactivity as a way to retain all the medical potential of the crops. Although Aurora exams all its merchandise in an on-site laboratory, Booth tells me, “We also have samples of all our cannabis sent to a Health Canada–qualified independent third-party laboratory for testing and analysis as well.” It’s essential to make sure the cleanest attainable product, and the workforce at Aurora stays dedicated to sustaining the standard and integrity of its output.

Inside Aurora Cannabis: The World’s Biggest Grow

Danny Danko/ High Times

Lit Products

Aurora present a number of dozen strains of flowers with excessive THC and CBD ranges, in addition to buds with quite a lot of THC-to-CBD ratios in five- and 10-gram increments, with all merchandise shipped utilizing earth-friendly cornstarch packing peanuts.

The firm additionally sells supercritical CO2-extracted THC and CBD drops made by mixing whole-plant extract with MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil to achieve a focused efficiency. Booth explains: “MCT is a healthy, colorless, odorless oil that is found naturally in coconut oil. MCT oil is broken down easily and efficiently by the body, which means that the client receives the maximum effect of our THC and CBD drops in a relatively short time frame.”

A singular product provided by Aurora, its Double-Milled Decarb capsules, is a smoke-free method to obtain activated cannabinoids for sufferers who select to not smoke or vaporize their flowers or oils. Flowers are decarboxylated to completely activate cannabinoids after which powdered to supply a capsule that may be eaten immediately or added to meals or drinks. You should buy them crammed or buy your personal filler and capsules to make your personal at house.

All of Aurora’s hashish and cannabis-derived merchandise can be found at a flat-rate compassionate pricing of simply $6 per gram for sufferers in monetary conditions that qualify for the government-subsidized program established in 2013. Also obtainable is quite a lot of vaporizers, together with desktop variations and discreet vape pens.

Aurora’s cellular app takes comfort a step additional, permitting sufferers to view merchandise in actual time and order their hashish medicines with a click on of a button on their smartphones utilizing fingerprint authorization. It’ll even ship push notifications the moment that favored merchandise are made obtainable! Deliveries take between one and three enterprise days relying on location, and the corporate is planning same-day supply within the close to future.

Inside Aurora Cannabis: The World’s Biggest Grow

Danny Danko/ High Times

Mountain High

Our first cease was in Alberta to go to and tour Aurora’s 55,200-square-foot facility referred to as Aurora Mountain, nestled in lovely Mountain View County close to Calgary. Here, over 100 staff produce and course of an astounding quantity of hashish in many various varieties—over 10,000 kilograms per yr! As I’m gearing up in head-to-toe protecting garb to take care of sterility, chief cultivator John Barnet explains to me the protocol and course of.

Plants are grown in pro-mix and drip-fed with an answer of vitamins combined into recent Canadian mountain water as soon as per hour for 10 hours through the daytime mild cycle. No pesticides of any variety are ever utilized, leading to an integrated-pest-management system that depends closely on useful bugs. These carnivorous predators and nematodes assault any vegetarian bugs and their eggs with a purpose to hold crops clear, wholesome and thriving.

Aurora additionally avoids issues with powdery mildew utilizing preventative measures that embrace meticulous high quality management and using strains with pure resistance to humidity-related points. Barnet’s background in osteopathy evokes him to “treat the plants like people,” and he’s enthusiastic about offering the appropriate setting for them always. I shortly see that he and his crew cater to every pressure’s particular necessities, even with hundreds of crops to take care of.

The propagation space housing mom crops and clones is lit with LEP (light-emitting plasma) and MH (metallic halide) lighting. The benefits of being situated within the pro-business province of Alberta embrace low tax charges and low electrical prices. Tissue-culture methods are employed as properly for effectivity and decontamination together with conventional cloning practices.

The 10 flowering rooms vary in measurement from a number of hundred to a number of thousand crops. Each is maintained in ultra-sanitary circumstances requiring clear trays, benches and flooring. The particular person enclosed rooms include their very own recycled air, with no recent air introduced in from outdoors.

Plants are harvested, trimmed, dried, packaged and shipped on to sufferers. Climate-controlled vaults for storage include packaging designed to guard the product from mild, warmth and humidity.

Inside Aurora Cannabis: The World’s Biggest Grow

Justin Cannabis/ High Times

Sky’s the Limit

Our subsequent cease was at an enterprise the likes of which I’ve by no means seen in all my years of visiting develop amenities. Located close to the worldwide airport at Edmonton, the Dutch-designed hybrid greenhouse generally known as Aurora Sky, nonetheless within the means of being constructed, boasts a mind-blowing 800,000 sq. ft! It took a helicopter journey over the location for me to really decide the enormity of this $100,000,000 endeavor.

Conservatively projected to develop over 100,000 kilograms of hashish per yr, the power employs high-tech European greenhouse agriculture know-how for velocity and automation. It features a large propagation bay, three vegetative bays which are 17,000 sq. ft every and 16 flowering bays which are every 35,000 sq. ft.

With an eight,000-plant mom room and 40,000 crops per bay, the numbers are merely mind-boggling. Add to that two large storage vaults, a number of drying and packing rooms, area for a tissue-culture venture, a hot-water storage tank and a 50-foot-deep, 102-million-gallon pond the dimensions of 17 Olympic swimming pools, and you start to know the magnitude of this endeavor.

Aurora’s dedication to cost-effectiveness drove the design of the greenhouse to make the most of self-cleaning antireflective glass with snowmelt know-how for optimum natural-light consumption. The large hot-water tank, warmed by hyper-efficient European boilers, pumps radiant warmth by way of tubes, and a complicated HVAC design utilizing pressured air offers uniform local weather management. A separate condensation system prevents humidity-related points similar to powdery mildew.

Inside Aurora Cannabis: The World’s Biggest Grow

Justin Cannabis/ High Times

The bays are laid out with one lamp per each 25-26 sq. ft of footprint to behave as supplemental lighting and assist produce a fair cover over NFT (nutrient movie method) benching with one plant per sq. foot secured in rockwool medium. There’s a 1-to-Four ratio of HPS (high-pressure sodium) to LED lights. The LEDs are sealed water-cooled models from the Dutch producer Oreon, offering 53 % extra effectivity than HPS and an eight-year lifespan. Total energy utilization is 28 megawatts, and the power might be seen from area!

Automation is vital to Aurora’s good manufacturing practices, as founding cultivator Chris Mayerson explains to me: “For both quality and cost-effectiveness, we seek to have as little human contact with our plants as possible to avoid contamination. Automated bench washers clean the growing areas and cranes lift up beds to move them as necessary. Robots space out our plants, and an automatic visioning system seeks out and identifies pests and diseases. We use no pesticides at all—just bio-friendly bugs.”

Aurora Sky’s post-production space alone is staggering in measurement. Fifteen drying rooms make use of a cold-harvesting technique that retains the ambient temperature no larger than 9°C (48°F). Like an enormous humidor, the rooms include solely filtered air and lock in terpenes and flavonoids for optimum high quality.

A group of mechanical tornado machines auto-trim the flowers and ship them to the packing room, which may produce 50 sealed bottles per minute precisely. Air within the containers is changed with CO2 and nitrogen to protect freshness virtually indefinitely.

Inside Aurora Cannabis: The World’s Biggest Grow

Justin Cannabis/ High Times

Home Cultivation

For these in search of to develop their very own, Aurora lately acquired the BC Northern Lights and Urban Cultivator grow-box corporations. While different licensed producers might search to undermine and delay home-cultivation rights, Aurora sees an attractive marketplace for private develop gear among the many Canadian public and plans to even present clones on the market to its clients who select to supply their very own marijuana.

CEO Booth explains: “We’ve always advocated for people’s ability to make their own choices and are very supportive of the Supreme Court’s Allard decision, which confirmed patients’ rights to grow their own medical cannabis. Similarly, we believe that, after implementation of consumer legalization in Canada, individuals who choose to grow their own cannabis should have access to cultivation solutions that are in controlled environments, safe and can produce high-yielding, high-quality cannabis.” Furthermore, the grow-box purchaser can pattern stains from Aurora earlier than rising them with a view to make sure they’re cultivating the varieties they need.

BCNL and Urban Cultivator, working for 17 and eight years, respectively, present state-of-the-art indoor-gardening home equipment with touch-screen know-how and superior automation. They’ve earned a fame because the main grow-box manufacturers on the planet and have been encouraging and serving to individuals to develop their very own hashish in addition to microgreens, greens and herbs.

Neil Belot, Aurora’s chief international enterprise improvement officer, says, “These transactions are an important step in our strategy to serve the home-gardening market in Canada for patients who choose to grow their own medical cannabis, and ultimately for adult consumers who choose to grow their own after Canada’s federal government legalizes adult usage, which is anticipated by July 2018. For over a decade, BC Northern Lights products have been widely recognized as the gold standard for home cannabis production, and we look forward to integrating our offerings to deliver a truly unique and full-service customer experience.”

“We are delighted to be part of the Aurora family,” says Tarren Wolfe, co-founder of BCNL and Urban Cultivator. “This will enable us to address a much larger audience of people who have been empowered by the Allard decision to operate a home garden and are seeking access to the equipment, genetics and educational support services to do so. In teaming up with Aurora, we will work with an industry-leading team of cannabis-branding specialists and sales and marketing professionals to bring BCNL to the next level. In addition, Aurora’s licensed-producer status means the company will soon be able to provide a fully integrated package, including starter materials such as clones, offering one-stop shopping for people who choose to grow their own cannabis at home.”

Inside Aurora Cannabis: The World’s Biggest Grow

Blue Dream; Justin Cannabis/ High Times

Aurora’s Glow

With its dedication to high quality and price management; its quick, free and discreet delivery all through Canada; and its latest facility projected to supply over 100,000 kilograms of hashish per yr, Aurora Cannabis Inc. seems to be sure to realize power within the extremely aggressive marijuana-production market on a worldwide scale. Aurora’s acquisitions, investments and up to date enlargement into supplying a number of worldwide companions in Europe, Australia, South America and past will definitely change the way forward for hashish cultivation and distribution worldwide. Like its namesake, the aurora borealis, this “electric” firm appears destined to proceed shining for years to return.

This function was revealed within the July 2018 concern of High Times journal. Subscribe proper right here.


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