Opportunities NB (ONB) has identified cannabis as a priority sector for economic growth, actively aligning our efforts to ensure the economic, academic, and regulatory portions of the industry connect.

In November, the Province of New Brunswick was named the ‘Most Progressive Public Office’ in Canada as part of Lift’s 2017 Canadian Cannabis Awards. Our team is excited to see the province being recognized as a national leader in this rapidly-growing industry.

Why New Brunswick is Leading

ONB and the Province of New Brunswick are capitalizing on the growing demand in the Cannabis sector thanks to:

1. Research and Productivity Council (RPC), a world-class research and testing facility. RPC currently tests the majority of medical cannabis produced in Canada. They also work with existing licensed producers on new product development.

2. Research chairs established in partnership with industry at two New Brunswick universities:

  • St. Thomas University (STU) & Shoppers Drug Mart have established a chair dedicated to researching the social determinants of health with regards to cannabis use.
  • The University of New Brunswick (UNB) & Tetra Bio-Pharma established a chair focused on the study of the biochemistry, medicinal use, and pharmacology of cannabis.

3. The Université de Moncton (UdeM), again in collaboration with industry, is actively researching many aspects of the cannabis plant including pesticides, crop yields, and plant growth.

4. The Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick (CCNB) has launched the first-ever Cannabis Cultivation Program to support the industry’s workforce needs.

In addition, New Brunswick has available, cost-competitive, fully-serviced industrial infrastructure ready to be developed into production facilities.

“We have the most affordable agricultural land in North America or Europe,” noted Executive Director of BioNB, Meaghan Seagrave, at a recent cannabis panel in Fredericton. “We’ve got solid building blocks around genomics, cultivars, and seeds, all of the starting components for cannabis. And we have significant agricultural expertise, about 150 years’ worth.”

The provincial government is actively developing a strong, modern, appropriate regulatory model to support the safe and competitive production, distribution, and sale of medical and retail cannabis products.

Genomics: An Opportunity to Drive Innovation

In January, Colorado-based Sunrise Genetics secured a partnership with RPC to begin accepting samples for testing of cannabis cultivars in Canada. RPC’s media release notes that the partnership “assures cannabis samples follow the already established submission process for analytical testing while adding service options to cultivators interested in exploring the genomic potential of their cannabis plants.”

Genomics, the powerful combination of genetics, biology and computer science, represents a huge innovation opportunity for New Brunswick’s cannabis sector — as well as our agriculture, aquaculture, mining, forestry, environment, and energy sectors.

Genomics is recognized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as one of the most important platform technologies that will fuel the development of a global bio-economy.

“You name a sector or company and the odds are that genomics is helping or can help their competitive position,” says Steve Armstrong, President and CEO of Genome Atlantic. “Atlantic Canada must invest aggressively in genomics in order for the growth of the bio-economy to be optimized.”

As part of New Brunswick Innovation Week, Genome Atlantic, in partnership with BioNB and ONB, will present From Crop Science to Health Research – Maximizing Cannabis Opportunities in New Brunswick at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Fredericton on May 3. This discussion panel will highlight opportunities for New Brunswick along the cannabis value chain, market demand, and the importance of the science and genomics-based research in supporting high-value opportunities.

The World Cannabis Congress

The province of New Brunswick has a rich tradition of success in research and innovation in agriculture, and proven experience exporting high-quality agricultural products.

“New Brunswick is uniquely positioned to lead this transformational cultural, scientific and economic opportunity,” says ONB CEO Stephen Lund. “ONB continues to focus our efforts on strategic opportunities, like cannabis, that align with the unique assets of New Brunswick.”

Mr. Lund will serve as Co-chair of the World Cannabis Congress (WCC), presented by Civilized from June 10 to 12 in Saint John, New Brunswick. ONB is proud to sponsor this important event and looks forward to connecting cannabis industry leaders from around the world. Learn more about WCC here.

Written by Jason Boies