Dirty Little Secret No More: Virtual Tour Makes Cannabis Production Public


Take the virtual tour of the SunLab greenhouse owned by Tantalus Labs, and you’ll see a big, bright, state of the art facility. There are rows and rows of lush, green plants in different stages of growth, many of them being held in position with the help of tomato cages. It looks like any other greenhouse, only this one is dedicated to growing cannabis.

Tantalus, a cannabis producer in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, told the StarMetro Vancouver that the purpose of the online tour is to increase transparency where production is concerned.

Recreational marijuana, after all, becomes legal in Canada on October 17th.

Study after study has shown that a majority of Canadians support legalization. A 2017 poll by researchers at the Dalhousie University in Halifax found that from coast to coast, 68% were in favor of it.

But cannabis has long been regarded as somewhat of a dirty secret, and the CEO of Tantalus Labs told The Star that he wants to help ease social tensions by demonstrating that growing cannabis is very similar to other forms of agriculture.

Dan Sutton says he’s taking a farm-to-table approach, showing people how their cannabis is grown.   

He says after years of grow-ops being relegated to basements and bunkers, they are finally being brought out of the dark and into brighter, more socially acceptable spaces.

It’s all about transparency.

Follow The Light

Designing the perfect space for growing cannabis isn’t something that Tantalus Labs has taken lightly. Founded in 2012, the company designed, built, and operates North America’s first cannabis tailored greenhouse.

The greenhouse you see in the virtual tour boasts 120,000 sq ft of growing space and is able to produce 10,000 kg of cannabis a year!


But most impressive, if you ask me, is how Tantalus is growing its crops. The company claims to use 90% less electricity than traditional indoor grow-ops where artificial lighting is essential.

Growing cannabis in a greenhouse opens the door to new opportunities, and in the Tantalus SunLab, the sun is responsible for providing full-spectrum light to the plants.

Watering needs are handled by the rain. When it falls, it’s collected in storage containers the size of two Olympic swimming pools. The rainwater is filtered extensively before being drip-line fed to the crops.

It’s sustainable agriculture at its very best.

A Changing Culture

With legalization just around the corner, experts are predicting the cannabis industry will be worth billions. A report by Deloitte suggests the total Canadian cannabis market, including medical, legal recreational, and illegal, will generate more than $7 billion in sales in 2019 alone.

It’s no wonder many people are looking to cash in.

At Niagara College in Ontario, Canada, a full-year cannabis production certificate program is now being offered.

According to a CBC report, the program provides plenty of hands-on experience with classes revolving around plant nutrition, climate control, pest control, and plant selection. More book-intensive courses will teach students about the laws governing Canada’s cannabis industry.

Before graduation, they’ll go out into the field and work with cannabis producers in the region.

Competition to get into the program is steep; more than 300 people reportedly applied for just 24 spots.

With more greenhouses like the one run by Tantalus bound to start popping up across Canada, it looks like there will be jobs for all of them and more.

These sure are interesting times.

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Catherine Sherriffs

Editor at Garden Culture Magazine

Catherine is a Canadian award-winning journalist who worked as a reporter and news anchor in Montreal’s radio and television scene for 10 years. A graduate of Concordia University, she left the hustle and bustle of the business after starting a family. Now, she’s the editor and a writer for Garden Culture Magazine while also enjoying being a mom to her three young kids. Her interests include great food, gardening, fitness, animals, and anything outdoors.