The U.S. might potentially be on the brink of total recreational cannabis prohibition, but in Canada, where medicinal marijuana has been legal since the turn of the millennium and recreational use is becoming a nation-wide reality this year, one company is setting themselves apart as the Great White North’s most technologically advanced cannabis producer.
Tantalus Labs has developed a greenhouse in British Columbia that takes a completely new approach on indoor grows. The greenhouse has a specially designed, 120,000 square-foot roof that lets sunlight in, eliminating the need for a traditional indoor light setup.
The greenhouse also has a state of the art rain collection system that filters BC’s abundant rainwater, adds nutrients, and funnels the water back into the greenhouse to feed the crops.
It is systems like these that led one venture capitalist to dub Tantalus as the “Tesla of cannabis” - comparing the cannabis entrepreneurs to Elon Musk’s wildly successful smart-car start-up.
As far as the minds behind Tantalus see it, cannabis was meant to be grown outdoors, and with the protection - and technology - that comes with legality, the Lab has been able to return to the soil, all while keeping the consistent standards and quick harvest times that indoor grows are known for.
"Why is it that this industry was driven indoors? The core reason was stealth," Dan Sutton, founder and managing director of Tantalus Labs told Business Insider. "It's a lot easier to hide plants in basements and in bunkers than to cultivate it in the light, because it is federally illegal."
The air inside of Tantalus’ growhouse filters every seven minutes, making sure that stale air never leaves the plants moldy and keeps the trees pest-free. It took a team of scientists, engineers and designers over two years to build it, and if everything goes as planned, Tantalus will be producing high-grade medical cannabis at a rate and consistency that has only been met by commercial farmers in the past.
"We take those core concepts and we iterate on them so we can provide consistency, not only in product output, but in [meeting] a pharmacological standard," Sutton said.
Tantalus Labs hopes to start selling their product to Canadian cannabis clubs in 2018, where consumers will be able to judge for themselves whether the “Tesla of cannabis” can compete with their American peers.