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
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
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/