AMA w/ Justin Cooke, Soma Labs VP of Sales and Marketing
Who is Soma Labs?
Soma Labs is a turn-key processing facility provider that helps producers take cannabis bio-mass and convert it to cannabinoid oil. Soma uses its strong R&D group to improve equipment in the necessary areas of the oil extraction process like “The BOSS.”
With a fully-functional lab in North Vancouver used for R&D and training, Soma is not only able to provide all the equipment required for extraction and processing but also hiring, training, certification, and formulation.
From Chris Rowland @rowlzies
- What can investors expect in terms of new products or updates in the short and long term?
With Soma’s strong commitment to R&D, we have an ever-expanding team of engineers with 20 or so projects on the horizon.
The current top priorities are an industrial grinding machine, a dehydration machine and an ethanol extraction unit. The goal is to keep our turn-key lab solutions on the cutting edge of extraction!
- Has there been any consideration towards strategic partnerships or acquisitions?
This is a slightly harder questions to answer. What I will say is with the expansive growth of this market, there are an ever-growing amount of opportunities to form partnerships and we are exploring all of them.
Soma plans on becoming the leader in cannabis extraction technology and these partnerships need to fall in line with that goal
3. Any thought in expanding outside of BC?
In terms of manufacturing? Sales?
We are currently in discussions with companies from around the world to provide systems and labs.
As for Manufacturing, that will remain in BC. Our nice new building has some room for growth but I would love to bring it to capacity as fast as possible.
We are also looking at setting up training facilities outside of BC. One of the Soma advantages is we have our own lab for testing and development which allows us to train our clients on the entire extraction process on the equipment we have provided them.
Where do extracts fit in the cannabis market?
Let us look at the upcoming recreational market in Canada, the significant portion of the market that has to this point not tried cannabis due to the illegal nature, will probably not be looking to roll a joint or dab. The soccer mom or business executive will be looking to purchase an edible or oil that is discrete and easy to use. This will lead to a demand for oils that is unparalleled. The demand will far out weight the supply!
The ability to customize a final product with extracts will give producers a far more open market to develop their brand. Whether it is a flavour of oil in vape pen, a specifically formulated cookie or THC-infused lube, the possibilities are endless.
The market will have it’s equivalent of Molson-Coors or Budweiser but as we have seen with the craft beer market, a lot of passion, creativity and some marketing leaves a lot of room for producers in the extract world.
What are some of the hurdles extraction and processing facilities will face aside from regulatory compliance?
This list could go on for a long time and get very specific, so I will just state two of the big ones I have been talking with producers about recently:
- Misinformation- This is a plague for most industries but with the rapid growth of the Cannabis industry and the accompanying technology; the right questions are not always being asked. For example, How much feed material can the extraction vessel hold? This metric can have a wide range depending on if the material has been dried or ground. If a producer doesn’t know to ask about the how the material is prepared, the production numbers are skewed due to water taking up not only space in the vessel but time to extract.
- Educated operators- Finding an employee with extraction experience or a chemist with cannabis experience is going to be exceedingly difficult; let alone someone that understands how to operate a processing facility. Soma will assist clients in finding the right candidate using our experience with our North Vancouver lab and train that candidate at the lab with the same equipment that will be setup at their facility.
Where do you see future technology advancements in extraction/processing going?
The future of processing is going to be Automation much like wineries, pharma, and oil & gas. The future systems will be a single automated processing line where biomass is placed in one end and oil comes out the other end into “bottles” with minimal human supervision.