Research and Productivity Council (RPC) is a New Brunswick-based research and technology organization whose core mission is to leverage science and technology to the benefit of industry.

Last year, we spoke to CEO and Executive Director Eric Cook for an introductory look at RPC’s work in the cannabis sector. We decided to check in with Mr Cook again for his thoughts on the inaugural World Cannabis Congress, and for an update on RPC’s cannabis-related news.

ONB: RPC recently announced some exciting news concerning cannabis. Tell us about that.

Cook: We have received approval from Health Canada for a new cannabis sample preparation laboratory. This new lab significantly increases our capacity for processing cannabis, both for the medical market and the soon-to-be-legal adult-use retail market.

RPC New Brunswick cannabisWe have also added new instruments and have hired several new employees. Our workforce has grown by about 65 per cent over the past 28 months and a lot of that can be attributed to our cannabis work. Licensed producers know they can come to us for more than our analytical services. There has been increased demand for our air quality services, automation and engineering services, process engineering services, and our genetics work.

What about edibles?

With edibles expected to be legalized sometime in 2019, we certainly anticipate increased demand for our accredited food chemistry services. There are reports that, in legalized cannabis states in the U.S., a significant amount of consumers actually prefer edibles over smoking or vaporizing cannabis. We have already fielded inquiries from people working on developing these edible products. Edibles represent a good opportunity for New Brunswick’s food and beverage sector.

You attended the 2018 World Cannabis Congress in Saint John in June. What were your big takeaways from the event?

It was such an energizing and motivating experience. The key takeaway for me is that Canada really is the envy of others in the world, particularly the American attendees. The fact that Canada is going about legalization the way we are is seen as very progressive by those outside the country. It made me feel proud to be involved in that sector and to see New Brunswick viewed as an international leader in it. The world is watching us, no question about it. This is a major change in policy and in our culture.

There was plenty of great advice from featured speakers like Anne McLellan. She spoke about treading carefully and not screwing this up, about following regulations carefully, and keeping public safety in mind at all times.

We were also impressed by the reveal of the Cannabis NB store; I think it’s a nice attractive design. The Congress was a big success from my vantage point. It was great to hear complimentary things about the province and our approach to the sector.

RPC continues to grow. Be sure to check out careers at RPC.

New Brunswick is ready for October 17 and the legalization of adult-use retail cannabis in Canada. Visit our Cannabis sector page to learn more about ONB’s work in that sector and connect with our team.

Written by Jason Boies