Extracted Episode 3: Supply & Sunlight with Tantalus Labs
We’ve touched on Canada’s current supply and quality issues in previous episodes. Now in our third episode of Extracted, we’re championing one of the companies that’s doing it right. Tantalus Labs is one of the most quality-driven LP’s we’ve seen to date. They launched properly with quality high-end product. In this episode, we sat down with their CEO Dan Sutton and CFO Luke Jenkins to find out more about their unique growing process and their approach to business.
Tantalus Labs operates SunLab1 – a 75,000 sq ft purpose-built greenhouse facility in Maple Ridge, BC. Their facility uses natural inputs and sunlight to grow exceptional cannabis while using substantially less energy. It’s why Tantalus Labs has been referred to as “the Tesla of cannabis.” Beyond the facility itself, Dan says it’s a combination of the right people that brought SunLab1 to life.
“We have some people who have grown some amazing cannabis throughout their life, and what happens when we pair them up with some genius horticultural operators, some really smart agricultural scientists, and we get them to make music together?”
Bringing the goods to market.
After five years in development, Tantalus Labs is excited to finally have version 1.0 of their products out in the world. Perhaps even more exciting is the response from a community of customers that are now part of their story. As Dan says “we’ve been building this facility, growing our plant, honing our processes, and that’s been a story about us. Now, it’s a story about the people that use our products.”
Cannabis is not a commodity.
The pursuit of high-end cannabis has always been the focus for Tantalus Labs. Dan says it’s been frustrating to hear again and again that cannabis is a product that’s going to commoditize quickly. He doesn’t see it that way and believes that low grade cannabis at high volumes simply isn’t sustainable.
“I would challenge anyone to demonstrate to me that cannabis as a product spectrum acts like a commodity. It doesn’t behave like a commodity.”
It starts at the source.
When it comes to extraction, we know that advanced technologies can only do so much. Really, the quality is largely determined at the source. The guys from Tantalus Labs agree and challenges the notion of producers who think they can simply convert low quality cannabis into good oil. As we know less-than-par compounds don’t change just because they’re extracted well. What goes in is what comes out.
“Good quality cannabis turns into good quality extractions. That’s something that not everybody in the industry knows, and a lot of customers are waiting to find out.”
This is true transparency.
We’re big on transparency at Valens, and it’s inspiring to see another company like Tantalus Labs doing more than just talk about it. Not only have they invited the public inside SunLab1, they also created a virtual tour using Google street view. When asked if they’re concerned at all that other companies might try to steal their ideas, Luke says they aren’t worried about it.
“The idea that someone’s going to be able to take a photo and copy what we do, all the way down to the people that we have, the culture that we have, what we care about, it’s going to be a lot harder to copy than just taking a few photos.”
Dan reiterates that it’s not one or two things that make Tantalus Labs unique. It’s not the lighting, or the fans, it’s thousands of combinations of things. In fact, the team at Tantalus Labs hopes their process inspires future producers to grow smarter.
“I hope that SunLab inspires the next generation of investor or whoever to say ‘we can create amazing quality cannabis in a greenhouse and this really is the future.’ That’s how it’s gotta be.”
Growing in BC.
Tantalus Labs chose their geographic location for a reason. It’s not just the narrow temperature fluctuation and the natural environment of the lower mainland. Dan says that cannabis is simply “part of the BC experience.” Luke says cannabis has long been a part of his outdoor adventures in BC. For Dan and Luke, two longtime friends who grew up here, cannabis in BC holds real and nostalgic value. In other words, it’s personal.
Listen to the full episode to hear more about the challenges and triumphs in making SunLab1 a reality. And find out what’s next for Tantalus Labs.