A micro cultivator and processor is working to keep the cannabis culture alive on BC’s Lasqueti Island, located just east of Vancouver Island in the Strait of Georgia.
Lasqueti Cannabis Co., a passion project run by Kathy Bond and her partner Keith Morris, was licensed in October 2022 and had its first crops on the shelves in BC one year later.
The island itself has a storied history of cannabis production. It was once referred to as a “mecca” for medical cannabis production by the RCMP and is known for helping develop unique cultivars, including Lasqueti Lemon Haze and Lasqueti Kush.
Bond, who operates as the RPIC for the micro producer, also oversees 13 employees, all island residents who have deep connections to that storied past.
Although she says some of the culture of the island has changed since COVID-19, with some long-time residents moving off the remote island, she sees Lasqueti Cannabis as a way to help keep some of that history alive and profitable for those wanting to still live there.
“It’s a big job creator for the island. We’re putting the island back to work doing what they do best and what they have become famous for over the years. All our employees are full-time island residents who have been growing cannabis their whole lives.”
That protection of the island’s cannabis culture extends to some of those unique Lasqueti Island cannabis cultivars, too, continues Bond. They brought in around 150 unique varieties of cannabis in the form of 1,500 seeds and are currently working on some as-yet-to-be-named cultivars she’s particularly excited about based on their unique aromas.
Although these aren’t always the high-THC that the market currently demands, she says she’s hopeful that consumers can recognize there’s more to quality than that one number.
“We want to prove to the world that THC isn’t what makes good cannabis,” Bond adds.
Island life makes things move a lot slower, though. Lasqueti has no outside power, and residents rely on a mixture of generators and alternative forms of energy. The one ferry that services the island is walk-on only, and all cannabis they deliver to the LDB or send to retailers via direct delivery has to be escorted on the ferry.
As a small business, she says she still does much of the work herself, even personally delivering their first shipment to the LDB’s distribution centre in Richmond, across two ferry routes.
“We do what we have to do, and we’re used to working together as a community.”
Ideally, Bond and Morris want to have a retail store of some kind on the island, as either a farmgate licence or a stand-alone store, to service not only the year-round locals but also the other thousand or so summer residents and tourists who come through the island’s port “city” annually.
“We know how to grow good cannabis, and there are some great strains coming on down the line,” says Bond. “We have the people, we have the knowledge, we have the strains. We just have to get our message out there to the world to let them know who we are.”
Lasqueti Cannabis’ Gas Truffle and Apricot Stomper are available through the LDB’s central distribution, and their Friendly Bear and Stay Puff are available through direct delivery.