During the past five years at Aqualitas Inc. in Nova Scotia, my odyssey in the cannabis industry has been confronted by a multitude of challenges on the domestic front.
While navigating the day-to-day intricacies of cultivating organic cannabis using our aquaponic technology has been a formidable task, our resolute management group and dedicated production team have risen to the occasion with unwavering commitment to success.
The industry’s landscape however becomes even more intricate when tackling challenges closer to home; issues such as price compression, heightened competition from emerging producers and innovative products, and the burden of excessive taxation and retail mark-ups, to name a few. Yet, within this evolving complexity lies the essence of our corporate narrative, namely our ability to focus on strategic planning and on meticulous execution, which are both rooted in the bedrock of our vision and core values.
At the outset, I must confess that participating in this inaugural launch of the “International Column” for Grow Opportunity magazine is an honour, which I hold in very high regard and that is truly inspiring.
Since its inception, Aqualitas has remained steadfast in its commitment to realizing strategic goals that extend beyond the immediate horizon. Our pledge is to craft the highest quality, organically produced cannabis for both retail consumers and medical patients alike. Our long-term vision aims to seamlessly integrate cannabis as a standalone and embraced medicine, in its flower and alternative forms, for the medicinal and pharmaceutical industry.
It is this unwavering commitment to our long-term goals that has propelled us down the path of advanced international certifications in quality management systems, ensuring that every step we take aligns with our mission for excellence. To pave the way for our long-term aspirations, we recognized that adhering to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), particularly the rigorous standards required for EU-GMP certification, was imperative for success. Our commitment was not just a procedural necessity; it marked a strategic move to unlock doors for the innovative products we aspire to bring to market.
Often misunderstood as merely process-focused and documentation-rich, GMP is in fact deeply rooted in people and their training.
It demands a collective effort from every facet of our production, transcending beyond the usual realms of quality control for international recognition and product distribution. The Drug Establishment License (DEL) will also allow us expand our offerings to include active pharmaceutical ingredients.
The attainment of our DEL license in July 2023 and EU-GMP certification in August 2023 was the culmination of years of relentless effort at Aqualitas. This achievement has not only validated our commitment to excellence but has also steered in a new era of opportunities for our company. Numerous export regions, including Germany, Australia, and the UK, have established EU-GMP as a prerequisite for the import of medical cannabis, a standard we now proudly meet.
While this certification seamlessly aligns with our future objectives, it concurrently allows us to offer our array of award-winning dried flower products to a broader market, positioning Aqualitas as a global leader in delivering premium cannabis products.
Given the economic pressures for licensed producers in Canada, the successful entry into international markets was not only important to us for short-term profitability, it is also crucial to our long-term growth as an organization. Our neighbours to the south are considering federal reclassification, and 38 states have legal medical marijuana programs.
Germany is also considering rescheduling cannabis to further liberalize its use beyond medical purposes, and I expect other EU countries will follow their example. Australia has been a success for Aqualitas in terms of consumer acceptance and brand recognition; we expect to grow our export business there significantly thanks to both our EU-GMP certification and in relation to GMP offerings for our vapes, and oils.
As the song goes, our future is so bright, I gotta wear shades!
Aqualitas, the small Nova Scotia company who brings water and light (and love) to its people and products, is set to sail into international waters and the horizon is limitless. My personal odyssey continues with more resolve and excitement than ever – new markets, new products, new customers and new experiences.