Butterflies with dry mouth signify an excited first date driving to the Tilray factory. A beautiful scenic property reveals itself. Woods, ocean, mountains and meadows invoke an artistic feeling. A clean crisp factory building says”Hello”. Security sets the standard of the visit. No cannabis smells outdoors because of odor minimizing technology. One step inside the building is an unmistakable lovely smell. We can’t move. The odor makes the brain feel good. No where on earth have we experienced such an entrance.
Philippe Lucas, Vice President of Patient Research & Services, introduces himself. He’s our tour guide. Never knew the man before this day. During the visit he was happy, friendly, informative, helpful and experienced. He set the social standard as everyone we encountered wore a smile. To follow-up after our visit we studied Philippe’s political, educational and business background. We have a new hero in our personal midst.
Security levels made us feel comfortable. 130 employees feel a safe working environment. Sanitary conditions are impeccable. Attention to fine detail is the first impression inside the 60,000 sq. ft. property.
The Tilray Vault
The tour really begins on top of the Tilray Vault. Basically right in the middle of the main building. Walls of 8″ concrete means no one is getting their cannabis. The top of the Vault served as a central hub of information. Charts showed growth timelines for the next four months. You could visualize the entire life of cannabis from clones, vegetative growth, flowering, harvesting, trimming, packaging and storage. You could feel the expertise placed into the timelines. Other charts showed some CBD research information. New self pruning potters were being examined. Research was being performed every stop of the tour.
Sanitary with security protocol is strictly followed before entering any room. The clone room was getting ready for new inventory. Philippe let us know clones maintain the integrity of cannabis genetics. Each clone was placed 7 to 10 days in a peat puck. They then get transferred to 4″ cubes of coconut based fibre. The clone leaves were cut in half to facilitate improved growth. Lighting was LED systems. The atmosphere felt so comfortable. Sometimes you can tell just by walking into a grow room if the atmosphere is correct. Philippe let us know Tilray has over 50 strains and counting. A new Marley strain is about to be announced. Their best strain to date could be Skywalker OG testing at 29.8% THC.
Next stop was the 24×48 sq. ft. grow/flowering room. A full sea of green greeted our excited minds. To the left some Jack Herer sativa. To the right some Jean Guy indica. Both cannabis strains are around 7 weeks flowering time. Nice big arm sized buds are everywhere. Philippe moves a row of hundreds of cannabis plants with one hand. He makes a 2 foot lane way to walk down. Dan walks down the lane way to the middle of the room. He does a slow 360 degree turn. The smile gets bigger as he rotates. All I really see is his head moving in a circle around a sea of cannabis flower tops. I tell him to we have to move on. We notice every inch of space is utilized. Philippe explains plant size, atmosphere, fertilizer, watering and pest control techniques. We can tell he’s simply letting us know the tip of the information iceberg. Some of our questions were met with a proprietary silent answer which was quite understandable. We respected that.
We could not enter any drying and harvesting rooms. Philippe let us know they hang the plant up whole to dry. Trimming dry buds leads to less trichrome breakdown. We were allowed a look into the trimming room. We were allowed to see an automated trimmer. The machine trimmed the buds onto a conveyor belt. Buds came out in a nice line. Workers then visually inspected every nugget. Hand trimming was performed where necessary.
The Vault greets us. The people inside are all smiling. They’re weighing and packaging medical cannabis. Bins of cannabis are stacked to the ceiling. We call it the wall of cannabis. White Widow, Master Kush, Jean Guy, Barbara Bud are a few of the names marked on the bins. So many names of cannabis makes the mind dizzy. We’re told Master Kush is the number one seller. They’ve got a cannabis blend at $4.00 per gram. The highest quality medicine goes for $15.00 per gram. There will be a medical cannabis in your price range. There’s ongoing research and development around every corner. They track prepared cannabis. Every bit of weight is important. Health Canada ensures they account for every gram of missing weight. Medicine is sold in 1-5-10-15 gram packs. Tilray will ship up to 150 grams per month.
The cannabis products are only available through mail order. No matter how much you order the shipping box is one universal size. You get a free grinder with free rolling tray when you sign up. Products come in jars or sealed child proof package. You can’t see the cannabis inside the sealed package. The strain information with THC levels and therapeutic effects are clearly marked. First time orders get 50.00 free medicine. Senior and low income discounts are available.
Philippe ended the tour with a complimentary gourmet lunch. We forgot to tell him we are gluten free people. The first thing Philippe said “Some of the food is gluten free if that matters”. During the delicious lunch we talked about first time encounters with medical cannabis. Our first encounter was a young friend with cancer going through chemotherapy. He was so thin from not being able to eat. We had to introduce medical cannabis to him out of desperation. After smoking joints during chemotherapy his appetite returned. In our eyes cannabis saved his life. Philippe let us know his first encounter was himself. I bet you everyone who reads this has a real first story to tell. These days no one is exempt.
Through all the impressions, good feelings, wonderful smells, thorough research and expert employees one thing rang out crystal clear. Tilray is truly about helping people. Thank you Tilray, Philippe Lucas, security people, employees and the chef for the “good” life long lasting memories.
The Personal Vault
A few hours went by after the Tilray tour. I found myself twirling 3 year old granddaughter Emily around in my arms like an air plane. She was flying free, legs kicking, singing, trusting, creating new memories, and making a spiritual connection through this simple act. I realized I was matching her state of mind with my own Tilray experience.
Back in the 1980’s I was arrested, convicted and jailed 30 days for possession of cannabis oil. My first ever offence. The judge told me cannabis was going to negatively effect my future children, grandchildren and generations to come. My mother kept a local newspaper clipping of the courtroom proceedings and what the judge said. For decades I lived with parental stigma of getting busted. There was a daily punishment reminder somehow. I’m not mad or angry about the Judge’s statement back in the day.
This is an unimaginable day to reverse old time memories from over 30 years ago. My granddaughter is going to be all right. Children now use cannabis CBD as medicine. I can legally buy medical cannabis over the counter. I’m truly happy. It happened when I was twirling around in the middle of the sea of green in flowering room at Tilray. The cannabis truth has materialized with science and research. The 360 rotation I did in the Tilray sea of green matches Emily’s air plane ride. I feel free, vindicated, new world excited and happy. I’m simply one person thanking Tilray for a positive life changing experience. This was more than a visit. The 2015 Tilray marijuana factory tour was a spiritual awakening.
It’s fabulous to realize medical cannabis is now helping children to seniors alike. Helping a child stop seizures is priceless. Helping a chemotherapy patient maintain an appetite is good medicine. We’re happy to see marijuana business transactions become professionally handled from clone to end product. People need organic natural medicine. 20 years ago my friend Preston was my first encounter with cannabis as medicine. Do you remember yours?