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Francis Descoteaux and Jonathan Bosse are the co-founders of Sumo Cannabis in Canada. The pair have been passionate about cannabis since their early 20s, and when the country legalized the plant, Descoteaux walked away from a career as a psychologist, and Bosse left his post as a social worker to start a new cannabis venture.
As a consumer, Descoteaux had been waiting for Canada to legalize cannabis for a long time. When it finally happened in October 2018, he was a little naive about how the industry would be structured. Admittedly, Descoteaux and Bosse didn't know what they were getting into; it's not easy to be a mom-and-pop shop in a Canadian market that's highly structured and requires significant investment. They started from scratch but had some help when they met Eric Morel, a well-known regional businessman who joined the company and attracted investors.
The three have worked together since 2018 and received their license in early 2022, but the company's product hasn't hit the market. Sumo was built with a philosophy created by two guys who worked in human sciences; they wanted a company focused on human values. In Canadian cannabis, Descoteaux says there are many businesspeople but not many weed enthusiasts. The Sumo founders love the plant and want their products to reflect that.
Sumo stands apart because the company's facility has the only four-story aeroponic cannabis flower facility currently in production. While aeroponics was relatively new and unknown to the founders, they visited a facility in Panama using a two-story system. Descoteaux and Bosse thought it offered an opportunity to save on nutrients, cleaning time and water. The system also generates much less waste and enables faster cultivation and turnover. While they have run into a few challenges in learning how to use the system, it all comes down to the numbers, and Sumo can grow more, higher quality cannabis in a year using aeroponics. The operation is efficient and uses all the space they have, both on the floor and to the ceiling.
According to Descoteaux, the four-tier system took a little convincing, but Sumo worked with AEssenseGrows, which until this project, only offered a two-layer grow, and racking company, Montel, to make it happen. For Bosse, the choice came down to a simple cost per feet decision.
The pair are still learning to improve the turnaround between harvests and the time required to clean the rooms, but the staff is improving.
Sumo wants to be funky and sell unique, high-quality strains, and aeroponics affords that opportunity with the ability to fine-tune each recipe.
A cannabis career was their dream, Sumo is their business and Descoteaux and Bosse know that if they make high-quality cannabis, they will always have a place in the market.
In this episode of the Cannabis Equipment News podcast, Descoteaux and Bosse also share their thoughts on the state of the cannabis industry in Canada, including problems with the gray market.
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