Organic. It’s a word many consumers love, driving them to pay upwards of 100% premiums for organic products. It’s a word pesticide companies loathe, impeding their profits and leading to bad press. It’s a standard to which the cannabis industry aspires, with The Green Organic Dutchman’s recent successful IPO as the latest example. With fully-built production facilities in British Columbia and in Washington State, and assets and operations in California, Rubicon Organics is a real, operations-based company that is well positioned for its public listing in Q3 this year.
What Rubicon Organics Has
One thing Rubicon has in spades is proven success in certified-organic production of cannabis under the MMPR and ACMPR, Health Canada’s past and current medical cannabis program. CEO Jesse McConnell co-founded Whistler Medical Marijuana Company, one of Canada’s original ten Licensed Producers and the first to be certified organic. Rubicon’s CSO wrote the Certified Organic Cannabis Standard (ISO 17065, FVOPA) in Canada and led Whistler through the organic certification process. The CSO has 15 years of experience in high tech greenhouse production of vegetables and 5 years of cannabis experience. The two have since combined forces to perfect organic cannabis production in greenhouses rather than the indoor facilities used by Whistler. Rubicon Organics is the culmination of that process. The company can reliably produce consistent premium organic cannabis at a cost of less than C$.50/gram once its facilities are through start-up phase.
Rubicon is currently wrapping up the retrofit of a 125,000 square foot greenhouse facility in the Delta, BC area and is in the final stages of the ACMPR licensing process. The company anticipates approval in the next few months, likely to coincide with going public. Rubicon plans to undertake further expansion of the BC production facility after the initial license, targeting production of about 67,000 kg/year by 2020.
However, as opposed to many prospective ACMPR licensees, Rubicon has existing operations and is actually currently selling products in other jurisdictions. The company, through a joint venture, controls 120,000 sf of outdoor cultivation in California. Its brand, 1964 Supply Co.™ (the name is a nod to the year in which Dr. Raphael Mechoulam discovered the THC molecule) is currently produced, branded, and distributed throughout the state.
In Washington, Rubicon has completed a 40,000 sf purpose-built glass greenhouse with Phase 1 capacity of 4,400 kg/year and is able to expand to about 15,000 kg/year by 2020. The facility is being leased to a tenant operator.
Where Rubicon Organics is Going
The stage is set for Rubicon Organics in some of North America’s key markets. Canada, Washington, and California combined represent about 58% of the legal cannabis market in North America. In those three markets, the company looks to generate around $275 million in yearly revenue by 2020. That is a very appealing number, but Rubicon’s plans are actually much more ambitious.
The company sees global potential for its organic cannabis. By combining brands developed and molded in the trend-defining markets of California with the global recognition of “BC Bud” and the consumer demand for organic products, Rubicon looks to create a global brand house featuring premium products designed for both medical and recreational use.
Along that path and following the company’s public listing, Rubicon aims to implement an aggressive marketing program to solidify its brand presence in the US, with plans to introduce the 1964 Supply Co.™ brand to the Canadian market in early 2019. The company already has laid the groundwork for distribution into Germany as well, which currently comprises Europe’s largest medical cannabis market and offers insurance coverage for cannabis treatments.
In recognition of the recreational market and the industry trends toward consumer products derived from cannabis (like edibles, oils, beverages and cosmetics), the company has been building an impressive executive team with relevant backgrounds. Rubicon’s President, Tim Roberts, has an extensive consumer goods background and recently held senior executive positions with Red Bull and Diageo. VP of Sales and Marketing Jason Pak comes from executive sales positions with Anheuser-Busch and Heineken.
Rubicon Organics is laying the groundwork for North American and global success. With proprietary and certified organic grow operations, many years of cannabis experience, presence in key markets with a clear plan for expansion, existing brands, low cost high quality production… there are many reasons to think Rubicon Organics could be the next major player in the explosive growth of the legal cannabis industry.
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