For some in the nevertheless-forming legal cannabis space, the plant has been a lifelong passion, exactly where a profession nearly seemed destined for ages, regardless of its legal status. For lots of other people, marijuana has grow to be aspect of their profession selections as laws changed. Agnes Kwasniewska falls into the latter regardless of appreciating cannabis and cultivation at massive. Nowadays, she is an award winning, milestone attaining, cannabis cultivation leader in the Canadian industry. 

Whilst she had a fondness for cannabis, and consumed recreationally, the agricultural qualified had no knowledge developing it herself. “I knew what I wanted out of my bud, but I in no way grew it,” recalled Kwasniewska, who earned a master of science in entomology from McGill University in 2009. 

That would alter in 2016 when the burgeoning cannabis business 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 thinking of if cannabis was for her: “I believed, properly, ‘Why not? Why wouldn’t I want to be aspect of this?’” 

The cultivation pro discussed the chance presented to her. “This was just a terrific in, to be in a position to function with such a special plant and do it legally.”

Her hiring produced headlines for various motives. Credentials like Kwasniewska’s represented a welcomed specialist addition to the cannabis neighborhood. That would be accurate these days and was even extra so the case in 2016. 

That stated, her gender produced a great deal 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 corporation the initially in the nation to employ a female Master Grower. 

“I was fairly shocked by it,” the Master Grower remembered. Agnes believed that the business had to have had a female in the part just before her. Whilst accepting she’s the initially in the legal industry, Agnes nevertheless believes that the illicit industry has noticed its share of females in the part. 

Agnes Kwasniewska: Breaking The Grass Ceiling

The buzz about her hiring could have been the initially time becoming lady came into function for Agnes. In preceding interviews, she recalled her gender in no way playing a element in the field. Nonetheless, the news did give the newly minted Master Grower a sense of pride. All through the news cycle, function remained the similar as usual, aside from a slight degree of added stress. “[The milestone] did place a tiny bit extra focus on me,” she stated. “But I do not obtain it changed the way I worked or the way I went about my day.” 

Whilst the occasional media focus didn’t alter her function, Agnes did recognize its value to her profession. “I really feel privileged to be in a position to get started in this business as the initially female [Master Grower]. It is good to have that acknowledgment moving forward, and really feel appreciated for the function that I did.” 

Considering the fact that her 2016 hiring, Kwasniewska has accomplished various substantial achievements in the field. For her, becoming aspect of the HEXO’s scalability has to be 1 of the most substantial 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 terrific accomplishment normally comes discomfort points, Agnes’ case integrated. From remaining compliant to altering public perception, she encountered various “growing pains” along the way. Nonetheless, the Master Grower credits remaining agile as a crucial to her sustained accomplishment to date. “I had to keep extremely versatile and adaptable to alter since almost everything was moving so quick,” she recalled. “Everything was so new that, from time to time, one thing could alter from week to week.”

Remaining agile and adaptable paid off for Agnes. Each HEXO and cannabis neighborhood members took notice, and for a great deal extra 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 function, “Here at HEXO we all know that Agnes is an exceptional part model and grower and has been instrumental in our success…We are really proud to see her terrific function recognized by her peers in the cannabis business.”

The recognition and the gravity of her hiring combine to reveal just how a great deal of an effect Kwasniewska tends to make in the space. The award-winner told Higher Occasions, “I’m definitely content to have the chance to be a part model to persons and…show females that they are capable of succeeding in this planet and in this business.”

These hoping to grow to be prosperous cultivators like her could want to get started by developing their personal plants at household. Beneath its laws, Canadians can develop up to 4 cannabis plants at household. Kwasniewska believes that providing persons the likelihood to develop is the sensible alternative and agrees with the regulation. “I consider it is terrific for persons to see how the plant behaves, how it works…I consider it is a very important knowledge and a exciting gardening activity.”

In various American states, like New York, household developing is sticky, legally speaking. So a great deal so that cannabis firms have urged state lawmakers to ban household cultivation. 

“I do not see what the challenge is,” stated the Master Grower of the matter. In addition to benefitting household growers with a hands-on cultivation knowledge, Agnes pointed out that specialist cultivation know-how is needed to build plants on the level of a licensed producer. As such, tiny to no household growers could rival licensed solutions. 

“I’m not definitely worried about somebody obtaining a handful of cannabis plants in their backyard.” She added, “I imply, not absolutely everyone out there has a green thumb either.”

When it comes to her function, 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 operating on new genetics in the greenhouse, even though she couldn’t elaborate a great deal additional than that. 

Whilst facts on new solutions have been sparse, 1 issue was clear: Agnes Kwasniewska is in her zone. The cultivation specialist continues to thrive in a space she in no way anticipated to be in just a handful of shorts years ago. Regardless of gender, her story represents 1 of a particular person who has stayed agile and kept finding out. In undertaking so, she’s combined a passion for cultivation with a plant that after only seemed like a hobby. 

Now, she’s assisting steer the course of the business. “Keep an eye out for new genetics. It is coming,” she stated with a cheerful chuckle.