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8 Luxury Canadian Cannabis Brands To Know About As Legalization Arrives

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8 Luxury Canadian Cannabis Brands To Know About As Legalization Arrives

A selection of chic cannabis accessories line the shelves at Tokyo Smoke’s Queen West location.Courtesy: David Pike for Tokyo Smoke

Brace yourselves: recreational legalization of marijuana in Canada is about to change everything for the North American cannabis industry. With Arcview Market Research estimating that the entire legal market will reach more than $20 billion by 2022, the luxury niche within is only going to grow along with it. But the most exciting prospect of all? Despite the high style strides made over the past five years, we still have yet to see much of what will come to market in the United States, Canada and beyond. Until then, here are eight* Canadian cannabis brands to learn about, all of which are leading the luxury charge:

*Note: this list is presented in alphabetical order, not ranked

Burb’s flagship location is slated to open next month in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia.Courtesy: Burb

Burb

Cannabis, culture and clothing collide at Burb, a soon-to-launch retail company with a 3,700 square-foot flagship in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia and additional locations planned to open throughout the province in the coming months (downtown Vancouver included). Fresh off an investment infusion from Harvest One with an e-commerce site launching in December, co-founder and CEO John Kaye cites his personal experience with the plant drives his brand, product and customer experience. He explains, “Our team uses cannabis, we’re all high functioning, educated adults with families and ambitions. We want to sell products we’re using ourselves and make high quality apparel that speaks to a new cannabis culture — sans rasta-pot-leaf and inspired by our own environment growing up and living in [Vancouver] BC. Creating a culture one can associate with and lifestyle one can be proud of is our main focus.”

Proceeds from DOJA’s new PARDON apparel collection directly support Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty’s mission to petition the Canadian government in issuing a mass pardon of minor cannabis convictions.Courtesy: DOJA

DOJA

You might have heard the word “doja” before — it’s stoner slang for marijuana — but up north, DOJA now stands for “representation of a different strain.” Founded in 2014 and since operating under the ACMPR (Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations), DOJA grows premium, small batch flower in British Columbia’s picturesque Okanagan Valley. Now a part of the Hiku Brands family, its offices in Kelowna double as the DOJA Culture Café, which welcomes the community to come and co-work, converse or celebrate in a variety of private rental spaces with a boutique (also shoppable online). Proceeds from DOJA’s new PARDON apparel collection directly support Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty’s mission to petition the Canadian government in issuing a mass pardon of minor cannabis convictions.

Qwest flower, cultivated in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, is slated to hit high-end dispensary shelves in December.Courtesy: Qwest

Qwest

Growers in British Columbia obviously regard their own “BC bud” as the best cannabis in the world and for Qwest — the soon-to-launch, luxury cannabis brand from parent company We Grow BC — provenance is everything. The name stands for “Quintessentially West” and the idea that their customers are “on a quest to explore and experience what’s beyond the ordinary in life.” Qwest refers to its surroundings deliberately as “cannabis country” and its home base in Creston Valley as the Qwest Cannabis Estate — an image meant to conjure up comparisons to experiencing Wine Country in Northern California. An on-site vault stores seeds from the rarest strains, which Qwest’s team of native, third generation growers will cultivate and release over time. Pastoral setting aside, its line of “ultra-premium” flower is nurtured by hand in ten grow rooms from clean Rocky Mountain air, natural spring water and rich soil, which will be on-shelf in select high-end dispensaries nationwide by December.

Tantalus Labs flower is grown in a 120,000 square-foot greenhouse in Maple Ridge, British Columbia.Courtesy: Tantalus Labs

Tantalus Labs

Would you grow tomatoes in a closet? It’s a simple question the three-man team at Tantalus Labs first asked each other when starting the company in 2012 “to revolutionize cannabis cultivation methods, using closed system greenhouses at the cutting edge of agricultural science.” Named as the Most Anticipated Licensed Producer by the Canadian Cannabis Awards in 2017, the Maple Ridge, British Columbia-based cultivator is strictly sun-grown in a state-of-the art greenhouse thanks to advanced airflow, transparent ceilings and triple-filtered rainwater. As such, the proprietary 120,000 square-foot SunLab reduces electricity demand by up to 90%, compared to traditional indoor cannabis cultivation giving Tantalus Labs the moniker from one angel investor “the Tesla of Cannabis.”

Coffee meets high design at Tokyo Smoke’s cool concept stores.Courtesy: David Pike for Tokyo Smoke

Tokyo Smoke

Toronto native Alan Gertner traded-in his self-described dream job at Google for cannabis in 2015 and hasn’t looked back. Starting Tokyo Smoke with his father Lorne Gertner, also a notable cannabis entrepreneur, Gertner is now at the helm of an award-winning, design-focused brand that seamlessly blends the best of cannabis culture against a backdrop of chic coffee houses. Originally intended to “provide a home in cannabis for those that didn’t feel like they had one,” Tokyo Smoke is also a subsidiary of Hiku Brands with two coffee shop locations, an eponymous collection of apparel and accessories and a soon-to-launch line of recreational cannabis flower. Next month, the company will open the first five of its dispensary concept stores in Manitoba with more locations planned across the country in the coming year. And if you’re in Canada for the big day, check out Tokyo Smoke’s official and ultimate guide to celebrating 10/17 at spendtenseventeen.com.

The just-opened Tweed Visitors Centre in Smiths Falls, Ontario.Courtesy: Tweed

Tweed

Tweed, arguably the largest licensed cannabis producer in the country and a subsidiary of Canopy Growth Corporation, is a trailblazer and model for cannabis culture in Canada as we know it. Founded in 2014, it was the first licensed cannabis company in North America to be publicly traded, the first to legally export cannabis, the first to build an online marketplace, the first to have an artist-in-residence and the first to sell its recreational products nationwide. Setting up shop in an abandoned Hersey’s chocolate factory in Smiths Falls, Ontario, the company has also just put the finishing touches on the Tweed Visitor Centre, an immersive, educational opportunity for the public to learn about its operation and vision (a chocolate factory of its very own is coming soon). With social impact as one of the cornerstones of its mission, the Tweed Collective has committed to investing $20 million in funding for community causes across the country over the next four years.

Each Tree Trunk storage box is made by hand in a third-generation family woodworking shop outside of Nelson, British Columbia.Courtesy: Tree Trunk

Tree Trunk

For Philip Andrews, president of Tree Trunk, his passion for woodworking dates back to the late 1960s when his grandfather — who immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands after World War II — built a shop to continue making custom furniture and cabinetry. It was a craft he learned while in a German work camp, which has been passed down through three generations to Andrews, who today, stands in the same exact shop just outside of Nelson, British Columbia (with his grandfather’s pencil sketches for the plans for his crib and highchair are still thumbtacked on the wall in his office). Blending modern design with old school craftsmanship, each Tree Trunk storage box and rolling tray is created by hand using sustainably-sourced black walnut, translating into a completely unique piece for every customer. Working with such intention means the supply of Tree Trunk products is extremely limited. Andrews is also extremely discerning in selecting stockists. For now, Tree Trunk is only on shelf in New York City at Higher Standards and through its own online store, where a six-piece, hand-painted collection in collaboration with artist Mark Oblow just dropped.

Van der Pop’s signature line of accoutrements are available through Tokyo Smoke and additional select retail partners nationwide.Courtesy: Van der Pop

Van der Pop

What founder April Pride started as a Seattle-based luxury cannabis lifestyle brand three years ago, has since morphed into a female-focused educational platform after Tokyo Smoke acquired it in 2017. Now officially under the Hiku Brands umbrella, Van der Pop’s signature collection of stylish stash jars, cases, rolling papers and grinders is still sold through Tokyo Smoke’s online shop, in its network of retail stores and other select retail partners nationwide. Also a pioneering, trusted resource for curious newcomers to cannabis, Van der Pop’s own website helps women discover a new path to self-care and wellness, guiding readers every step of the way. And save the dates for Van der Pop’s Women & Weed multi-city tour across Canada this winter, which kicks off in Toronto on November 7 and features a panel of cannabis experts that will tackle topics from wellness to design to entrepreneurship.

Article originally found at https://www.forbes.com/sites/katieshapiro/2018/10/15/8-luxury-canadian-cannabis-brands-to-know-about-as-legalization-arrives/

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Marijuana and CBD companies can’t advertise on Facebook and Google, so they’re getting creative – CNBC

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David Bozin used to get cuts and scratches on his arms when it came time to bathe his golden retriever, Jax, who rebelled against the prospect of being dunked in water.

Then he learned that dogs, like humans, respond to the properties of cannabidiol, also known as CBD, a cannabis compound that helps the body relax without producing intoxicating effects. Bozin got to work on a line of CBD-infused dog products, including a dry shampoo and puppy treats, that he calls ZenPup.

But in trying to find customers for his new company, Bozin faces a unique challenge in today’s market. He doesn’t have access to Google, Facebook or Instagram (owned by Facebook), which have banned CBD and marijuana promotions. The two dominant online advertising platforms account for 57 percent of the U.S. digital ad market, according to eMarketer, and almost all emerging brands today count on Google’s search ads and Facebook’s precision targeting to efficiently get the word out.

“Facebook is not the end all, be all. Instagram is not the end all, be all,” Bozin told CNBC. “Does that mean you’re not going to see as much traffic at the get go? Sure. But at the end of the day the most important point is conversion,” or getting people to buy your products, he said.

Marijuana is legal for recreational use in 10 states and Washington, D.C., and available for medical purposes in many others parts of the country. CBD is a bit more complicated because the laws are murky.

Currently, 47 states allow some form of CBD sales. The 2018 Farm Bill, which Congress passed this week, allows states to decide if CBD products made from hemp can be sold in their jurisdiction. However, it doesn’t protect the products from the Food and Drug Administration, which can penalize companies for making inaccurate health claims.

“We avoid talking about anything too specific about what the product will do,” said Cary Smith, senior vice president at agency North 6th Agency. “If you come from an educational standpoint, you skew towards less restrictions, and have a bit of a larger organic reach.”

With so much uncertainty in the market, Google and Facebook have shied away from allowing marijuana and CBD advertising, taking a similar approach to how they handle tobacco and related paraphernalia. When it comes to alcohol, Google prohibits companies from targeting underage users or promoting unsafe behavior, while alcohol advertising on Facebook has to adhere to local laws.

In the absence of Google and Facebook, ZenPup has been forced to find alternative ways to launch its products. The co-founders, who worked in marketing and public relations, are spending time building relationships with media companies, high-end dispensaries and pet accessory retailers, along with other brands that might be open to partnering with a CBD provider. They’re finding popular social media influencers, who can support the products organically on their accounts.

ZenPup has also focused on clean, attractive packaging so that it’s appealing for “shelfies,” or staged product photos that people post on their feeds.

“Those younger consumers are looking for something different from an aesthetic standpoint, that also is top quality and at a good price point,” said Nicholas Weatherhead, ZenPup’s chief marketing officer and co-founder.

Other approaches are available to CBD companies, depending on the specific industry. Hillary Wirth, media director at the agency Noble People, said there are plenty of ways to get your brand in the right place.

To promote Viceland’s digital show “Weed Week,” in April Noble People bought local and national TV ads with DirecTV and Comcast, as well as on channels like IFC , USA and BBC America, and focused on pornography site Pornhub. There are also digital ad networks like like Traffic Roots that allow marijuana and CBD ads.

“So you can’t advertise on Facebook or Google – it’s not the end of the world,” said Wirth. “There are plenty of other media channels that will get you contextually next to relevant weed content.”

Noble People got creative in other ways. The firm organized a Washington, D.C., Viceland event to allow people to “Smoke Weed with Jeff Sessions.” But it wasn’t the former attorney general — just a man from Wisconsin with the same name.

Another approach is storytelling and finding a narrative that can generate PR.

For example, branding agency Abel told the story of Charlotte’s Web, a dietary supplement company named after Charlotte Figi, a young girl who suffered from epileptic seizures. With the help of CBD, Figi was able to to reduce her seizures and improve her health.

With “brands like Charlotte’s Web, the founders, who are very positive about the cannabis opportunities, have been able able to use PR as a marketing channel,” Abel CEO Julian Shiff said. “The word of mouth is so strong they are developing a tribe around their brand.”

Sponsoring sporting events and concerts are effective ways to find brand resonance. Smaller gatherings can work as well. Recess, which makes a CBD-infused seltzer, holds information events at places like hip-hop yoga chain Y7 Studio and samplings at Rise by WeWork. The company is based around a beverage, but it’s really trying to sell a lifestyle, said CEO and founder Ben Witte, who used to run mobile strategy for ad tech company AdRoll.

Witte said Recess has reached 50 times its projected sales this year, amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The product is mostly sold online, but is also available in New York City stores.

“The most important thing is to have a clear mission and purpose,” Witte said. “The best way to communicate that mission and purpose is not through a Google or Facebook ad.”

Original Article at https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/14/facebook-google-dont-allow-cbd-ads-so-zenpup-has-to-get-creative.html

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How Cannabis Could Become The Next Real Estate Disrupter – Forbes

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Outdoor restaurant renderingDesign by M-Rad Inc.

For a while it looked like the best thing to bring to a neighborhood was a new Whole Foods grocery store. One study showed that homes in these neighborhoods would appreciate at a much faster rate than if they were near a Trader Joe’s (and both were better than a Starbucks). Another sign a neighborhood is on the cusp of revitalization is when the yoga studios start vying for space with the arthouses. Usually it is not long after that the expensive coffee shops and cupcake stores start showing up at street level. But now that so many states have passed laws favorable to the marijuana movement, the next big thing to bring a neighborhood back from the brink just might be the increasing number of organizations that work in the industry.

Downtown Los Angeles could be the first case study to see this phenomenon in action. Next month, a seven-story building in the heart of Los Angeles’ Jewelry District will open up, filled with tenants who all have cannabis somewhere in their job description. The 67,000-square-foot Green Street Building (the name is in reference to its anchor tenant, the Green St. Agency, which works solely with clients in the marijuana industry) will house everything from co-working spaces to an art gallery, dispensary, restaurant, law firm, luxury spa and lounge. Real estate investment company Bow West Capital purchased the property last year for a reported $14 million. Once open it will be the largest real estate space dedicated to cannabis in the U.S.

“The buildings in [the Jewelry District] have not received the proper upkeep, allowing for low sale prices of the buildings but also requiring full renovations,” said Matthew Rosenberg, CEO and Founder of M-Rad, Inc, the design team behind the project. “With the prosperity and funding in the cannabis industry on the rise, this is a perfect combination for this exciting new industry to make this area their home, with Green St. being the catalyst.”

While there are not many residential properties for sale within the Jewelry District itself, data from Realtor.com shows the few that are on the market have a median asking price of $525,000. Surrounding neighborhoods vary quite a bit with the neighborhood of Florence-Graham about five miles away to the southwest seeing median list prices of $440,000 compared to Greater Wilshire a few miles to the northeast seeing median list prices of $1.7 million.

Lounge renderingDesign by M-Rad Inc.

M-Rad took the 1913 building and completely renovated the interiors to create mixed-use spaces that cater both to the requirements of offices and restaurants as well as the unique needs of cannabis companies. They needed to create the right proportion of an open-plan design matched with a set of cloistered, secluded rooms for those who want privacy. Here are some images of the interior provided exclusively to Forbes.

For example one concept for behind the hidden door of the library bookshelf could be the Bud Bar, with a custom-designed table. (Interested? A Forbes contributor put together a Gift Guide which includes some of the most unique marijuana rolling papers, with some that are made from gold and others that look like money.)

Concept of tableDesign by M-Rad Inc.

The lounge, MOTA—which if, like me, you didn’t know is a Spanish slang term for marijuana (at least one dispensary out there has ascribed the words Medicine Of The Angels to the letters, but the term doesn’t have its origins as an acronym)—will complement the restaurant which may prepare cannabis-infused menu items and have a U-shaped bar designed specifically for potential cannabis tastings. It will also have fully transparent windows into the kitchen so guests can see the food being prepared. Sound-proof rooms are also available for private meetings and the Flower Room can be a designated smoking area. [Update: The design team followed up after this was published to clarify these features are just in concept stage and have not been confirmed or approved. No cannabis products will be sold on site based on current plans.]

MOTA Cafe renderingDesign by M-Rad, Inc.

“The companies who are part of the building are some of the biggest players in the industry,” says Rosenberg. “Which will bring in high-level clientele and investors who may feel encouraged to invest in the development of the area. The building itself will host a number of cannabis-related programs such as cultural activities and gastronomic experiences which will attract new clientele.” Some of the big names affiliated with the project are prolific investor Gary Vaynerchuck, who is a 50% stakeholder in Green Street Agency, and Vicente Sederberg LLC, dubbed The Marijuana Law Firm, is one of the tenants.

Typically neighborhood revitalization follows the pattern of stores opening up on a neglected city block one retail space at a time. But this model is different. By bringing a critical mass of companies to the neighborhood all at once, the sudden influx could accelerate the resurgence all the more quickly. Los Angeles’ Jewelry District could become a major player in a matter of months, not years.

Follow me on Twitter @amydobsonRE

Article originally found at https://www.forbes.com/sites/amydobson/2018/11/27/cannabis-as-real-estate-disrupter-how-the-largest-marijuana-retail-space-plans-to-revamp-a-district/

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[Winner] November 1, 2018 Giveaway (Episode 2)

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Brady Shepherd wins our 2nd Rate.Review.Win! Giveaway!

hosted by Automatic Weapons

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