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Smoking a joint on a Winnipeg street will be very different than doing the same on Toronto’s Spadina Avenue. One is illegal while the other is not, according to the varied provincial laws on public consumption. Understandably, it can be confusing, but experts hope laws will eventually change to allow safe spaces for cannabis consumers to enjoy their products.
While it may be simpler for Canada to launch a nation-wide policy on consuming and growing cannabis, the reality is much more complicated. Every province dictated how it would manage the Cannabis Act within their borders, from the minimum age to buy cannabis, to its retail plan, to homegrow restrictions.
Few cannabis industry influencers have a resume as impressive as Deepak Anand. An active speaker, Anand sits on the board of Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM) and the National Association of Cannabis Professionals. As the vice-president of business development and government relations at Cannabis Compliance Inc., Anand works daily to help companies cut through the regulatory red tape of commercial and retail cannabis licensing. We recently caught up with Anand to discuss reform, the future of medical cannabis, and his latest venture, the Global Cannabis Partnership. The following is an edited transcript of that conversation.
Aliza Sherman has long held a passion for women’s right, even advocating the cause by extension of her professional successes. In the 90s, she started the first female-owned internet company, Cybergrrl, and went on to develop digital marketing strategies and study industry trends. One theme that continued to come up, Sherman remembers, was cannabis.
What is hemp and how does it differ from cannabis? A unique variety of the cannabis sativa species, hemp is one of the planet’s most diverse and far-reaching crops. A non-psychoactive form of cannabis, hemp has little THC content, but its applications are even more robust than its more popular counterpart.
Cannabis legislation has long been characterized by a patchwork of laws in the United States, with some states allowing only medical, and others permitting unbridled recreational use. Hemp may soon be the first real beacon of light from a federal perspective, as the 2018 Farm Bill would allow the plant to be grown, and its organic components processed for commercial, medical and industrial purposes. Chris Brunin is one of the many advocates hoping, wishing and waiting for that day. We caught up with Brunin, the CEO of Quiet Trees, to discuss the prospects for hemp if the Farm Bill is passed, the mandate of his company, and the importance of education in the space. The following is an edited transcript of that conversation.
When Cassandra Farrington decided to take on cannabis, she did so with one vision: lend the industry some business wings. Since helping Marijuana Business Daily take flight in 2010, Farrington has watched the platform – formed to help business professionals navigate the space – evolve to include one of the most popular business-to-business trade shows in the industry, the MJ Biz Conference. With popular events held in Las Vegas and New Orleans, the conference now has an international arm that calls Toronto home. We caught up with Farrington during her company’s first Canadian stop to discuss its recent successes, and the future of the MJ Biz Conference.
As the brainchild behind one of the world’s first cannabis-based sexual health lines, Antuanette Gomez is no stranger to innovation. Her company Pleasure Peaks is currently developing 16 products in the category, treating everything from sexual anxiety to cancer symptoms. We caught up with the Toronto-based entrepreneur recently to discuss her mandate in the space, the importance of female sexual health, and the meaning of International Women’s Day. The following is an edited transcript of that conversation.
Very few market research firms are as laser-focused as Cann Standard, a pricing analytics firm based in Calgary. What director Brad Martin and his two colleagues accomplish is the detail-oriented work of collating the various prices of dried cannabis, oil and pre-rolled joints to give Canadians a clearer picture of what they should expect to pay in this new post-legalization landscape.
Thanks to recreational cannabis legalization in Canada, 4/20 feels different this year, and it also gives us the opportunity to reflect on what Canada got right and wrong about cannabis recreational use.
Canada’s government has motioned that it will legalize cannabis for recreational purposes. On October 1 of this year, Canada will become the first G7 nation where the adult use of cannabis is permitted for both medical patients and recreational users. As reform looms, however, there are still a number of questions that need to be answered.
Leslie Best isn’t a prototypical cannabis advocate. In fact, she’s nothing short of the antithesis of a stereotypical stoner – a forty-something suburban mother of three children, and the loving wife of a firefighter and one-time winner of HGTV’s “Canada’s Handyman.” As the matriarch of the family, Best represents a completely new class of cannabis consumer, an altogether balanced presence to the areas of family, healthy living and alternative therapy options.
When Gill Pollard, a Vancouver mom of two, spoke to a fellow mothers around a year ago, she heard a similar refrain. "This mom was telling me how cannabis is so bad, so dangerous, and moms shouldn’t do it at all. Meanwhile, she’s telling me this while guzzling a glass of wine and holding her newborn in the other arm,” Pollard recalls in an interview.
While practically every Canadian knows October 17, 2018, was the date when cannabis is legalized in the country, some confusion is still rippling from Victoria to St. John’s. Questions may include, “What exactly is legal and illegal?” and “Can I actually grow cannabis at home?” and, very importantly, “What will happen when I try to cross the border to the U.S. and I admit to having used cannabis?”
If you're hazy about the promotion of cannabis products in Canada, you’re not alone. Even the most dedicated legal experts in the space admit Health Canada hasn’t been entirely clear about which promotional tactics are allowable, but insiders can agree on one thing: the Cannabis Act's rules are extremely restrictive.
One of the leading human resource professionals in Canadian cannabis, Alison McMahon founded Cannabis at Work with hopes of helping bridge the industry’s education gap. In the three years since she set out with that earnest goal, her role in cannabis has grown, like the sector around her, to include both a medical and recreational arm. In addition to educating employers about workplace impairment, Cannabis at Work is quickly becoming a top staffing agency for the Canadian cannabis industry.
Marcus Richardson doesn’t pull punches. The first time we met was at a party in the backyard of a mansion in Toronto. He was nestled in the corner unit of an outdoor sectional – the best seat in the house, as far as I could see. When a space opened up on the couch, I slid in and struck up a conversation. I had no idea who I was talking to, and I don’t think he liked me.
Emma Chasen has carved out a unique niche in the cannabis industry. A graduate of Brown University, Chasen received a specialized biology degree in medicinal plant research before eschewing naturopathy and jetting across the country to pursue a career as a budtender, then education coach, at the renowned Farma dispensary in Portland, Oregon. As the left brain behind Eminent Consulting, which builds educational content for the cannabis industry, Chasen has now become one of the industry’s leading female voices. We caught up with her recently to discuss the science of cannabis, indica-sativa classifications, and the importance of International Women’s Day.
There are few places in the world more fitting for a cannabis conference than Niagara Falls. A fast and vibrant city, ensconced by some of the quietest and richest agricultural lands the Canadian countryside has to offer, the natural beauty of Niagara Falls proved once again an inviting place for the second annual Grow Up Conference.
For Rebecca Brown, the light-bulb moment came with a guerilla tactic: when she was at the ad agency Entrinsic four years ago, her colleagues drummed up an idea to promote their services to the medical cannabis firms in Ontario. They headed out to those rural facilities and projected images on the walls of those buildings, promoting what Entrinsic could do for cannabis firms.
The days of cannabis journalism dominated by pothead stories on how to roll joints and profiles of cannabis-loving rappers are making way for a new kind of reportage in Canada: business journalism mixed with deep peerings into the wider culture of cannabis.
Jay Rosenthal is the professional archetype the cannabis industry once found it hard to attract: educated, intelligent, and insightful. As the co-founder and president of Business of Cannabis, Rosenthal has brought this new space 20 years of experience in media, business and politics – a career that has carried him from his home in Boston, to Washington, Silicon Valley, and finally, his adoptive home of Toronto. We caught up with him recently to discuss pot stocks, the significance of concentrates to consumers, and the future of the cannabis industry. The following is an edited transcript of that conversation.
Cannabis is blazing a number of new trails. Across the industry, novel conventions are being set for what cannabis is, and who engages with it. As one of the strongest examples of the progressive nature of the plant and its culture, the cannabis industry is home to a strong number of female representatives – from executives and entrepreneurs, to influencers and activists.
Jon Liedtke is a passionate guy. Over the phone from his home in Windsor, Ontario, his voice rarely dips below an excited tone. For anyone close to cannabis, he’s easy to like. A man with equal parts charm and knowledge, Liedtke can hold a room, which is a fitting trait for the owner of the world’s largest vape lounge.
Whether looking at the commercial or cultural sides of the cannabis space, the potential is clearly visible. Perhaps one of the most exciting prospects for the adult-use market is a reality that has already started to take shape in states like California and Colorado – cannabis tourism. A far shot from conventional, this expanding model includes bus tours, camping, and cannabis friendly lodgings cleverly called, “bud and breakfasts.”
As cannabis journalism finds its footing in post-legalization Canada, many standalone cannabis outlets are gaining momentum. The Winnipeg Free Press launched The Leaf News, magazines such as Civilized appeal to a more upscale market, and media giants such as Postmedia are joining the fray with its cannabis news source The GrowthOp.
Ophelia Chong is one of the busiest women in cannabis. A photographer, graphic designer, entrepreneur and educator, Chong is the founder of StockPot Images, the only stock photo agency in the cannabis, hemp and psilocybin space, which is partnered with Adobe and Picture Alliance/EU. She is also the executive creative director at AURA Ventures, an equity partner on two licenses with SIVA, LLC, and founder of Asian Americans for Cannabis Education. Her work in the space is both respected and revered.
When Carol Gardner brought her English bulldog Max Daddy home for the first time, the Portland resident noticed how her new pet was hobbling around in pain. “He couldn’t walk because his joints were deteriorated,” the 72-year-old says in an interview. “The vet had given him Prozac so he was really out of it.”
Leading a collaboration of leaders in Canada’s recreational cannabis industry, Kim Wilson is making corporate social responsibility a key pillar of the new Global Cannabis Partnership. As its marketing materials explain, “the Partnership works to create international standards for the safe and responsible production, distribution and consumption of legal recreational cannabis.”
If you want a holistic overview of cannabis cultivation and how small-scale farmers can bring diverse products to the cannabis consumer, look no further than Craft Weed: Family Farming and the Future of the Marijuana Industry.
If you’re frequently checking out cannabis CanCon on Twitter, your feed will eventually find a retweet or original post courtesy @TrinaFraser, aka Trina Fraser, a partner at Brazeau Seller Law in Ottawa. A lawyer at the firm for 19 years, she’s recently gained social media (and IRL) acclaim for specializing in legal issues in the Canadian cannabis space.
Travis Lane has dipped his feet in both worlds. As one of the most respected craft cannabis growers on the West Coast, Lane spent the last decade developing his cultivation techniques and passing his wisdom on to a generation of green thumbs. In recent years, his resume has expanded to include titles like entrepreneur, consultant, and instructor. As Canada readies to welcome reform on October 17, we caught up with Lane to discuss his new projects, a changing of the times in British Columbia, and the future of legal cannabis in Canada.
These days, there are more colleges and universities than ever offering specialty cannabis courses. The diversity of programs – focussing on everything from cannabis cultivation to marketing – is impressive. Spanning nearly every aspect of this robust industry, there are now dozens of courses and colleges looking to accelerate students’ entry into the cannabis space.
Across Canada, entrepreneurs are looking at a new niche business growing rapidly thanks to growing interest in the country’s cannabis landscape: tours and specialized cannabis-heavy experiences.
Rebecca Brown charted the road less travelled to get to the cannabis industry. Previously, she was the vice president of social media at J. Walter Thompson before joining Abacus as its chief revenue officer. Most recently, she founded Crowns Creative and set her sights, exclusively, on the cannabis industry.
In 2018 we were treated to dozens of cannabis-friendly events that impacted both medical and recreational consumers across the world. We pared it down to the top 7 stories that you should know about right now, in order to better inform you for how cannabis will again be top-of-mind for many countries in 2019.
The path to cannabis legalization in Canada is paved with dank intentions.
In late December of 2018, hemp farmers across the U.S. awoke to quite a Christmas miracle: the U.S. government passed the Farm Bill, which included a provision that legalized hemp cultivation at the federal level.
With recreational cannabis winning the lion’s share of attention with cannabis legalization in Canada, the medical cannabis program faces an uncertain future. But it could still thrive, thanks to health care plans and older Canadians.
When Barinder Rasode watched cancer ravage her friend’s mother, it left a distinct impression on the Surrey, B.C. woman. But for a different reason than you may think: the Surrey native also saw how the cancer sufferer used cannabis in her final years to help ease the pain.
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