For some in the nonetheless-forming legal cannabis space, the plant has been a lifelong passion, exactly where a profession pretty much seemed destined for ages, regardless of its legal status. For numerous other individuals, marijuana has turn into component of their profession selections as laws changed. Agnes Kwasniewska falls into the latter regardless of appreciating cannabis and cultivation at big. Currently, she is an award winning, milestone attaining, cannabis cultivation leader in the Canadian marketplace.
Even though she had a fondness for cannabis, and consumed recreationally, the agricultural experienced had no expertise increasing it herself. “I knew what I wanted out of my bud, but I under no circumstances grew it,” recalled Kwasniewska, who earned a master of science in entomology from McGill University in 2009.
That would modify in 2016 when the burgeoning cannabis market would converge with her personal blossoming cultivation profession. That year, the Quebec-primarily based customer packaged goods cannabis brand HEXO Corp named Agnes Kwasniewska its Master Grower. She described her believed course of action when contemplating if cannabis was for her: “I believed, properly, ‘Why not? Why wouldn’t I want to be component of this?’”
The cultivation pro discussed the chance presented to her. “This was just a good in, to be capable to operate with such a one of a kind plant and do it legally.”
Her hiring produced headlines for various causes. Credentials like Kwasniewska’s represented a welcomed specialist addition to the cannabis neighborhood. That would be correct right now and was even a lot more so the case in 2016.
That stated, her gender produced considerably of the headlines. Unbeknownst to the now-Master Grower, her hiring represented a glass ceiling shattering moment in the Canadian cannabis cultivation space. HEXO’s recruitment of Agnes Kwasniewska produced the firm the 1st in the nation to employ a female Master Grower.
“I was rather shocked by it,” the Master Grower remembered. Agnes believed that the market had to have had a female in the part ahead of her. Even though accepting she’s the 1st in the legal marketplace, Agnes nonetheless believes that the illicit marketplace has observed its share of ladies in the part.
Agnes Kwasniewska: Breaking The Grass Ceiling
The buzz about her hiring may perhaps have been the 1st time getting lady came into operate for Agnes. In prior interviews, she recalled her gender under no circumstances playing a issue in the field. On the other hand, the news did give the newly minted Master Grower a sense of pride. All through the news cycle, operate remained the very same as usual, aside from a slight degree of added stress. “[The milestone] did place a tiny bit a lot more consideration on me,” she stated. “But I do not obtain it changed the way I worked or the way I went about my day.”
Even though the occasional media consideration didn’t alter her operate, Agnes did recognize its significance to her profession. “I really feel privileged to be capable to commence in this market as the 1st female [Master Grower]. It is good to have that acknowledgment moving forward, and really feel appreciated for the operate that I did.”
Because her 2016 hiring, Kwasniewska has accomplished various considerable achievements in the field. For her, getting component of the HEXO’s scalability has to be one particular of the most considerable moments to date. “When I began, we had only 7,000-square-feet of greenhouse. In the final 3 years, we’ve exploded to 1.three million-square-feet of canopy space,” she explained.
With good results usually comes discomfort points, Agnes’ case incorporated. From remaining compliant to altering public perception, she encountered various “growing pains” along the way. On the other hand, the Master Grower credits remaining agile as a essential to her sustained results to date. “I had to keep extremely versatile and adaptable to modify since every little thing was moving so quick,” she recalled. “Everything was so new that, occasionally, some thing could modify from week to week.”
Remaining agile and adaptable paid off for Agnes. Each HEXO and cannabis neighborhood members took notice, and for considerably a lot more than her gender. In September of 2019, Agnes was awarded the Master Grower of the Year title at the 2019 Develop Up Awards.
In a press release announcing the news, HEXO CEO and co-founder, Sebastien St-Louis stated of her operate, “Here at HEXO we all know that Agnes is an exceptional part model and grower and has been instrumental in our success…We are particularly proud to see her good operate recognized by her peers in the cannabis market.”
The recognition and the gravity of her hiring combine to reveal just how considerably of an influence Kwasniewska tends to make in the space. The award-winner told Higher Occasions, “I’m definitely satisfied to have the chance to be a part model to persons and…show ladies that they are capable of succeeding in this globe and in this market.”
These hoping to turn into productive cultivators like her may perhaps want to commence by increasing their personal plants at property. Beneath its laws, Canadians can develop up to 4 cannabis plants at property. Kwasniewska believes that providing persons the likelihood to develop is the sensible solution and agrees with the regulation. “I believe it is good for persons to see how the plant behaves, how it works…I believe it is a very important expertise and a entertaining gardening activity.”
In various American states, like New York, property increasing is sticky, legally speaking. So considerably so that cannabis corporations have urged state lawmakers to ban property cultivation.
“I do not see what the concern is,” stated the Master Grower of the matter. In addition to benefitting property growers with a hands-on cultivation expertise, Agnes pointed out that specialist cultivation know-how is expected to make plants on the level of a licensed producer. As such, tiny to no property growers could rival licensed items.
“I’m not definitely worried about somebody obtaining a couple of cannabis plants in their backyard.” She added, “I imply, not everybody out there has a green thumb either.”
When it comes to her operate, Agnes and HEXO have various plans underway. That consists of the current release of a worth flower brand, Original Stash. The Master Grower is also functioning on new genetics in the greenhouse, although she couldn’t elaborate considerably additional than that.
Even though information on new items have been sparse, one particular factor was clear: Agnes Kwasniewska is in her zone. The cultivation specialist continues to thrive in a space she under no circumstances anticipated to be in just a couple of shorts years ago. Regardless of gender, her story represents one particular of a individual who has stayed agile and kept mastering. In carrying out so, she’s combined a passion for cultivation with a plant that as soon as only seemed like a hobby.
Now, she’s assisting steer the course of the market. “Keep an eye out for new genetics. It is coming,” she stated with a cheerful chuckle.