How a Personal Journey led to the Creation of a Premium Cannabis Company

An interview with Jonathan Wilson. CEO of Crystal Cure.

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi! My Name is Jonathan Wilson, and I am the CEO of an exciting small-batch cannabis company called Crystal Cure in Shediac Cape, New Brunswick.
We are a premium producer growing cannabis in our proprietary organic living soil that we sell to markets here in the Maritimes and a few other spots throughout the country.  We’ve been incorporated since 2016 and began selling on the legal recreational market on December 24th, 2020.

We focus on dried flower production, but will soon begin the expansion project that will allow us to gain more canopy space and dive into cannabis 2.0 products like concentrates, topicals, and more.

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

Although I joined the team in early 2020, our founder was the inspiration for everything we do today and will continue to do as we grow.  A number of years ago, he was diagnosed with a serious health problem affecting his pancreas.  After traditional medicine wasn’t helping, he turned to cannabis after being introduced to another one of our founders, that was growing cannabis in his own mix of organic living soil and then using it to make Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), a full spectrum cannabis oil, which is a widely known product invented here in Canada that had an underground reputation of treating serious health issues.

After using cannabis to treat his condition, he was convinced of its ability to change the world and immediately started working on plans to get ready for legalization, which was being widely discussed at the time.

That same organic soil is now being used to grow all of the cannabis that we sell both recreationally and medically here in Canada.  Our tagline is: from soil to soul, and we can’t wait to show what that really means!

Describe the process of launching the business.

After determining this was the way to go, our owner/founder sold off existing businesses to create Crystal Cure Inc. and Adonis Growing Solutions, which together would make up our entire operation from soil recipe development to the sale of cannabis and everything it entails.

We originally received our cultivation and processing licenses in July of 2019 and were on track to obtain our recreational sales amendment in March 2020, until that “little” pandemic hit.  It delayed our launch until December of 2020, and created many hardships along the way, but allowed us to launch in our home province on Christmas Eve, 2020 - which was truly special.

At the same time, we began construction on our Phase 1 plan, which includes a 60,000 sq. ft main facility housing grow rooms, processing rooms, storage, offices, etc, and a 50,000 sq. ft of hybrid greenhouse.  Unfortunately, due to issues with construction, we had to put the expansion on hold and are now dealing with that issue in a court of law.  However, we continue to survive in this wild industry and are gaining acclaim across the country and beyond and can’t wait to resolve it and get back on track with our expansion to meet the demand we’ve created!

We began selling into one market only, New Brunswick, as we wanted to continue to refine our craft and improve on every aspect of our business so we were ready when the time came to expand.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Our brand is focused on three things mainly: standing by our unwavering commitment to producing top-quality cannabis, showcasing our expertise and ability to do so during all stages of the cannabis lifecycle, and being incredibly open, honest, and transparent about what we do.

We have been able to leverage our digital presence to not only showcase these things to the people in markets we currently sell to, but also to build demand for other, larger markets for when we are ready.

Besides producing top-quality cannabis that makes people ask for us by name, the biggest impact has been our transparency.  Our online presence is very educational, telling our supporters what we do and how we do it, without giving away the farm so to speak.  In addition, this has translated to our labeling and packaging, where we give more information than other producers to allow consumers to make informed choices.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We are managing to survive in this incredibly complex, competitive and hectic Canadian cannabis industry, despite the fact we haven’t been able to expand like we originally set out to.  However, we have seen a 30% growth in revenue over last year, while at the same time, remaining debt free and have now begun slowly expanding and improving our business whenever and however we can.

We are continuing to search for an additional investor that sees our potential and believes in what we do so that we can reignite our expansion plan and begin to bring the fruits of our labor to more markets here in Canada and beyond.

The future is bright and full of wonderful opportunities.  We can’t wait for our facility and surrounding area to welcome visitors from across the world that want to see what we do.  We were Atlantic Canada’s first farmgate store, and whenever the regulations allow, we will have an on-site consumption area that will truly make this a tourism destination for cannabis enthusiasts around the world.  Incredible cannabis is grown in the lobster capital of the world, minutes away from some of the best beaches you will ever encounter.  Sounds like a world we want to live in.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

The team and I, which has now grown to 15 people from 3, have learned countless lessons that we use every day to keep us humble and focused.  For one, we have learned the importance of taking our time to do things the right way, and that slow and steady truly is the best way.  At the same time, we have learned through trial and error and endless testing that we still need to be focused on continuous improvement and growth at the same time, which isn’t easy!

Coming from the sales/marketing/branding side, I’ve learned that the most important thing we do isn’t necessarily grow cannabis, but that we ensure our ecosystem is impeccably healthy for not only our plants but our team as well.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We have taken a very grassroots approach to managing and marketing our business.  We keep things simple and try not to reinvent the wheel.  Staples like Quickbooks, Drip (email marketing), Cropsify (Cannabis ERP/ Seed to sale software), and social media are our main tools for running our business, but there are many more we use and will use in the future.

Our best tool has been our voice - and we will continue to use it, and make it even louder/more impactful.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

For me, the book that has been the most influential as we take this journey has been The Alchemist, by Paolo Coelho.  There are so many life and business lessons jammed in there, but the most important one has been “the secret to life is to fall down seven times and get up eight”. We have witnessed failure firsthand, numerous times.  But we learn from it, get back up, and get back into the fight.  The fact that all of our team wants to win is key to coming together as a team to succeed.

Also, anything that Simon Sinek puts out is pure gold.  Few “get it” better than he, and the way he inspires people to look at the long game and do great things is truly exceptional.

In addition, learning from those that came before us in the industry - the ones that fought for what they believe in.  None of this would be possible without them.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

It’s been said before, but if you’re only doing it for the money - don’t.  Especially in the cannabis industry.  Without passion, you will never be successful, even if you make lots of money.

One thing that really helped me is that I needed to come to terms with the fact that I may not have the support of all my friends/family, and that’s ok.  Often times we think we need this validation from those close to us, but I truly believe you need to put your own oxygen mask on first and take care of #1 and make sure you are happy and engaged in what you do.  The others will come, or they will go, and that’s fine!

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Not right now, but as we expand, we will grow from 15 people to over 100!  This is the part I am most excited about as we get to create our own destiny for the company and bring in lots of folks to help us.  This will be a huge win for our province, our town, our industry, and our company.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you want to learn more about what we do, the best places are LinkedIn:



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