Cooking with Cannabis Around the World

Cannabis has an understated reputation as a culinary ingredient, but people have long been cooking with cannabis around the world. Cannabis recipes are incredibly diverse, with tips and tricks for everything from beverages to dessert. Today, we explore three locations that have taken cooking to a higher level. Thailand Thailand is not exactly known for […]

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Quebec To Require COVID-19 Vaccine for Cannabis Purchase

Buying cannabis in Quebec will require a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a directive issued by the province’s government last week. Health Minister Christian Dubé announced on January 6 that customers purchasing marijuana at government-funded stores must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination. The health minister said that an effective date for the vaccine mandate to purchase cannabis would be determined by government officials once all citizens have had a chance to receive a third shot of the vaccine. Dubé encouraged those who would be affected by the measure to roll up their sleeves and get the shot.

“If the unvaccinated aren’t happy with this situation, there is a very simple solution at your disposal,” Dubé said at a press conference covered by Fox Business. “It is to get vaccinated. It’s free. If you don’t want to get vaccinated, stay home.” 

Quebec Rolling Out Vaccine Passport System

The new directive expands a vaccine passport system that requires three shots. Currently, those aged 50 and older can access a booster shot by the government, which plans to expand eligibility for boosters to all adults as soon as next week.

The vaccine mandate for cannabis applies to government-funded or state-owned businesses known as crown corporations that sell marijuana or alcohol. According to a report from CTV Montreal, Yann Langlais Plante, a spokesperson for the Société des alcohols du Québec (SAQ), told reporters that the organization’s retailers would enforce the new vaccine requirement “as we have done with all other efforts deployed since the beginning of the pandemic.” 

Dubé’s comments were similar to those made by French President Emmanuel Macron only two days earlier. In an interview, Macron said that he wanted to make life as difficult as possible for those who still have not received the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I really want to piss them off, and we’ll carry on doing this—to the end,” Macron told the newspaper Le Parisien on January 4, as translated by the BBC.

The French president added that the government would not resort to harsher measures, such as forced vaccinations or arrests, but access to public places would be limited for the unvaccinated later this month.

“I won’t send [unvaccinated people] to prison,” he said. “So we need to tell them, from 15 January, you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant. You will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theatre. You will no longer be able to go to the cinema.”

Opposition Says Quebec Government Has ‘Lost Control’

Quebec opposition leader Dominique Anglade of the Liberal Party said that the administration of the province’s premier, François Legault, was making decisions based on politics instead of science and argued that the government has “lost control.”

“All of this is creating a lot of anxiety in the population, and François Legault is nowhere to be seen this week,” Anglade said after Legault failed to attend a press conference last week.

François Vincent, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business’s vice-president for Quebec, is against expanding the vaccine passport system to include additional retail businesses. He noted that companies already facing personnel shortages and difficulties hiring would bear the brunt of enforcing the vaccine mandate.

“The strategy is to get people to get vaccinated, but you’re asking the private sector to do the job without giving them the tools,” Vincent said.

Despite the pushback, Cheryl Milne, a constitutional lawyer and executive director of the Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights at the University of Toronto, said that the vaccine requirements would likely survive any potential challenges on legal grounds. She noted that buying cannabis in Quebec would still be available to the unvaccinated from privately-owned retailers that are not required to enforce the mandate. 

“Obviously, they’re thinking they need to step up pressure on people who are refusing to be vaccinated,” Milne said. “It’s untested at this point, but so far the courts, when looking at vaccine mandates or restrictions on liberty rights such as travel, have mostly sided with the provinces, who are trying to ensure vaccine compliance or public health measures to stop the spread of the virus.”

Amir Attaran, a professor with both the faculty of law and the school of epidemiology at the University of Ottawa, agreed with Milne, noting that there are no laws preventing the Canadian government from requiring most members of the public to be vaccinated.

“The governments in Canada have yet to lose a lawsuit” about vaccine mandates, Attaran noted. “As long as they set up a mechanism whereby persons having a medical or religious reason not to vaccinate are accorded reasonable exemptions, then they’ve demonstrated fundamental justice.”

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Canada Regulators Ease Access to Psychedelic Drugs

Health Canada, the nation’s health department, said that drug regulations were being amended based on new research into the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics.

“There has been emerging scientific evidence supporting potential therapeutic uses for some restricted drugs, most notably psychedelic restricted drugs such as MDMA and psilocybin,” Health Canada noted in the Canada Gazette, an official government publication.

Under the amendment to federal food and drug regulations, physicians will be able to request access to restricted drugs on behalf of their patients through Health Canada’s Special Access Program. Previously, restricted drugs including psychedelics were not available through the program.

The Special Access Program permits health care professionals to request permission to use unapproved treatments for patients with serious or life-threatening medical conditions. The program applies only in cases where conventional therapies have failed, are unsuitable, or not available in Canada. Patients are not permitted to request access to treatment through the program on their own behalf.

Psychedelic Research Continues

Research into psychedelics including psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine has shown that the drugs have potential therapeutic benefits, particularly for serious mental health conditions such as depression, addiction and anxiety. A study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry in 2020 found that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy was a quick-acting and effective treatment for a group of 24 participants with major depressive disorder. Separate research published in 2016 determined that psilocybin treatment produced substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer. 

“Given the growing scientific interest in certain restricted drugs, it is expected that Health Canada would eventually encounter a situation where scientific evidence supports the therapeutic use of a restricted drug within the context of the Special Access Program,” regulators wrote in the January 5 announcement. “The regulatory amendments are therefore expected to benefit patients with serious or life-threatening conditions who may be granted access to restricted drugs through the Special Access Program in instances when other therapies have failed, are unsuitable, or are unavailable in Canada.”

Before Wednesday’s announcement, patients could gain access to psychedelic drugs through two legal avenues. The first method would be to participate in a clinical trial, which only accepts patients on a limited basis and are not available nationwide. Patients could also gain access to restricted drugs by personally requesting a special exemption to regulations from Canada’s Health Minister.

Easing Access for Patients

Regulators noted in the announcement that “the regulatory amendments will not create large scale access to restricted drugs and they do not signal an intent towards the decriminalization or legalization of restricted drugs. The Special Access Program is for emergency treatment only.” But the move should make it easier for patients with an exceptional need to access psychedelic drugs.

Dr. John Huber, a clinical forensic psychologist and the CEO of Tripsitter Clinic, a publicly-traded ketamine therapy telemedicine provider that is listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange, applauded the Canadian government for continuing to advance and acknowledge the benefits of psychedelic therapy.

“This breakthrough decision will expand access to MDMA and psilocybin therapy and help save the lives of those with life-threatening mental health conditions,”  Huber wrote in an email to High Times. “We hope Canada’s success pushes the U.S. government to follow a similar pathway while awaiting FDA approval for MDMA and psilocybin.”

Greg Rovner, CEO of Heally, a telemedicine platform for psychedelic clinics and patients looking for alternative medicine treatment, said the decision by Canadian regulators to ease access to psychedelics should spur new research into the drugs.

“Health Canada’s recent decision is a ringing endorsement of MDMA and psilocybin’s therapeutic potential,” Rovner wrote in an email. “It recognizes the growing body of research into the benefits of psychedelics and expands access to psychedelics for patients in serious and life-threatening conditions. We hope to see more studies on the safety and efficacy of psychedelics that will spur further regulatory reform.”

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2021 Roundup of Cannabis Reform in Europe (and 2022 Predictions)

As the world contemplates a whole new year, whether or not COVID will finally recede, there are a few things to cheer about, including cannabis reform. Namely, no matter how many uncertainties face us all, as grey January stretches beyond the holiday lights, there is certainly cheer in the air that will last much longer than the season.

Indeed, there are plenty in Germany right now who are already making plans for infused Weihnacht treats just a few years hence. It is now clear that cannabis will take its place quickly in German traditions, Christmas being just one of them. Canna-Glüwein (hot, mulled wine), anyone?

Beyond this, the rest of the EU now teetering on the edge on this issue, has now woken up to the reality that no matter what they decide to do (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Malta and, of course, the current laggard, France), now that Germany has just uttered the declaration that is the beginning of the end. If not an inevitable form of economic development and tax money in a world starved of the same.

Cannabis has turned a major corner in Europe in 2021. Here are the major hallmarks of the year.

Red, Amber, Green, Go Deutschland!

Germany’s new “Traffic Light” political coalition has promised to address the issue of recreational reform legislatively in 2022. Unlike the U.S. where multiple attempts to pass federal cannabis reform have failed, this is likely to happen. 

In the initial rollout of reform, however, do not be surprised if the Germans decide to follow the Swiss and allow regular pharmacies to be the first port of call for both medical and recreational users. It would solve several issues at once—starting with the establishment of tight restrictions on cultivation and retail supply chain. 

A short term, interim solution such as this will knock out a far more contentious issue—how to structure a licensing system for everything from cultivation in the country (and by whom) to specialty shops that resemble American or Canadian “dispensaries.” Namely not medical establishments. Plus, online sales.

This is for both Germany and cannabis reform, expect there to be several iterations of reform, starting with state and city experiments that will inevitably see Berlin, Bremen, Dortmund, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Cologne and Munich on the front lines (because such ideas have been avidly pushed on a municipal level before).  

Also, don’t forget that it basically took four years after the law changed and two after the cultivation bid was finally awarded, for there to be distribution of German cultivated medical cannabis. Don’t expect the details of recreational to be handled or hammered out much more quickly. See Canada.

In the meantime, however, full decrim will become the law of the land, and patients will be free of prosecution, both for possession and presumably (hopefully) reasonable home growing. Despite the reluctance to actually have cannabis cultivated in the country, either by patients or companies (see the drama over the first cultivation bid), this is not 2017. Germans, albeit grudgingly, now admit that the drug does work, as a drug, even if they are not yet of one voice in the majority that cannabis prohibition has of course, failed.

Regardless, German recreational, just as medical reform was before it, is a huge, huge step which will drive other countries across the region forward too.

Malta and Luxembourg will Lead the Way

It is a sign of how convoluted the Dutch situation is, if not national position, generally, that the island of Malta led the way on actual, formal, federal, recreational cannabis reform within the European Union (EU). Indeed, if there are analogies to be made, Holland is kind of like the European California—creating a market that exists in the grey areas but is only now facing a discussion (and further one far from complete) about how to federally regulate the industry.

Luxembourg also, it appears, was just hanging back until another country took the leap, despite promising the same in 2018 as a new coalition government took the reins there. Now there is no excuse for any more delays.

Portugal will also inevitably now enact reform as soon as the smoke from the general election early next year clears—and no matter who wins. The country needs an economic boost—either from tourism or exports, and this is a natural solution.

Beyond this, Spain may well follow a Dutch model to formalize production for its clubs rather than coffee shops in the next 12 to 24 months.

Also expect to see Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, Greece and potentially outliers like Belgium begin to move with the herd, even if in the creation of experimental markets. This may or may not start to happen next year, but it will most certainly catch on within the next 24 months.

The Swiss Wild Card

Do not forget, of course, that the Swiss began preparing for a recreational trial rollout that now has a calendar date set for actual lift off in 2022. Companies have been submitting and obtaining approvals for the last eight months or so.

The beginning of this market, with its own strange requirements and rules, will also inevitably drive discussions and the shape of reform just across the DACH if not other EU borders the country shares with other countries. Everyone will be watching what goes down in Der Schweitz—including the unique waiving and blending of certain kinds of certifications—including but not limited to Novel Food and GMP.

Other Notables (or Not)

Try as they might to get some respect, the British cannabis industry, such as it is, has weathered difficult times, and these do not seem at least for now, to be ending any time soon. 

In contrast to the British on both European membership and cannabis reform, North Macedonia will inevitably play a role in the immediate future, even if just as a source of cheaper flower and oil extracts.

Poland is also still teetering on the brink of actual if not accessible medical reform, but expect this now also to speed up.

The Growth of Import Markets Serving Europe

The year 2021 was notable for another reason. Feeder markets will target EU if not Germany at their founder’s mandate, continued to grow. This means that no matter what happens with future cultivation discussions, in any country, starting with Germany, there will be no shortage of other certified cannabis from countries all over the globe at this point, looking for a German home. 

For this reason, there will be significant downward pressure on both the medical and “other” flower and biomass discussions.

Bottom Line On 2021?

If there is an analogy to be made, the situation in Europe now on the ground looks a great deal like the conversation in the U.S. in 2012, post presidential election that returned Obama to his second term in office. Namely, two states, Colorado and Washington State, voted on state mandates to create state markets. They both bloomed in 2014—and the rest, as they say, is history.

The developments this year in Europe, and even some of the stuttering delays, no matter their cause or ultimate resolutions, resemble this period, in many ways. And that spells great news for the industry, on all fronts.

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Legal Cannabis Outsells Ontario Illicit Market for First Time

Sales of legal cannabis outpaced the illicit market in Ontario for the first time ever during the second quarter of this year, according to new data from the province’s only licensed online cannabis retailer. 

“Ontarians chose to purchase more than half of their cannabis through legal channels, as Ontario’s legal market share increased to 54.2 percent, up from 47.1 percent the previous quarter,” the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS), which is also the province’s sole licensed cannabis wholesaler, wrote in its latest quarterly report.

The figure is based on data collected by Statistics Canada from cannabis consumers, who may have a tendency to under-report purchases from unlicensed sources. But Jennawae McLean, the co-founder of Kingston, Ontario cannabis dispensary chain Calyx + Trichomes, said that the number is not inconceivable.

“When it comes to the unregulated market, (sales) are a difficult number to pinpoint, but assuming the reporting is true, it’s not hard to believe,” said McLean. “The number of stores in Ontario has grown exponentially over the last… two years. It’s really just completely exploded.”

The number of licensed cannabis retailers in Ontario has spiked to 1,115 over the past several months. At this time last year, there were only 183 legal dispensaries in the province and only 53 were in operation two years ago.

Licensed cannabis sales by licensed retailers totaled nearly 394 million Canadian dollars ($306.7 million) between July and September of this year, compared to CA$204.3 million during the same period the year before. A record 56 million grams of licensed cannabis across all product types were sold during the quarter. The vast majority of sales, 96 percent, were recorded by brick-and-mortar dispensaries, with online sales making up the difference.

When licensed cannabis sales began in Canada in 2018, licensed retailers accounted for only about 5.4 percent of the total recreational cannabis market in Ontario. By the end of 2019 licensed retailers’ share of the market had risen to 19 percent, and by the end of 2020, it totaled 44.1 percent. Sales of regulated cannabis in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, were the nation’s highest, according to the report.

“Ontario continued to sell more legal cannabis than any other province or territory, with nearly 39 percent of all legal cannabis sales in Canada occurring through the province’s licensed retailers and online store,” the report noted. “A record 56 million grams of cannabis across all product categories was sold this quarter with sales reaching nearly $394M, resulting in a 28 percent increase in sales compared to the first quarter of the fiscal year.”

McLean credited the regulated cannabis industry’s success in Ontario in part to the large selection offered by retailers compared to the illicit market. More than 1,800 different licensed products were available in the province during the second quarter, including nearly 400 that had been recently added by OCS. Dried flower, vapes and pre-rolls were the most popular product types.

“Yesterday I was working at one of my stores and I had this guy come in, and he was overwhelmed with the size of our menu, which, to be fair, is 27 pages long,” McLean told The Canadian Press. “He had no idea where to even start and he said that was because since he started smoking cannabis, he got it from a guy and didn’t know what it was or what was available.”

Lori Hatcher, the head of marketing for Truss Beverage Co., a joint venture between brewer Molson Coors Canada and cannabis company Hexo Corp., said that cannabis beverages also helped drive cannabis sales through legal channels in Ontario. 

“This is a category that doesn’t really exist in illicit, so it was really important to actually help bring those consumers into the legal market,” Hatcher said.

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Uber Eats to Add Weed Category on App for Pick-Up in Ontario, Canada

The future is now for adult cannabis consumers in Ontario, Canada with a new level of convenience. Uber Eats customers there can find a new cannabis category on the app to order for pick-up, beginning Monday. Orders will be fulfilled within an hour of order placement, which is initially only available to Ontario residents.

Uber Technologies Inc. will add Canadian cannabis retailer Tokyo Smoke to its marketplace on November 29—allowing customers to browse, then place orders from the Uber Eats app and finally pick it up at their nearest Tokyo Smoke store, with dozens of locations in the province. You can browse through an assortment of cannabis products.

Deliveries of weed, however, will not be allowed. Orders are for pick-up only. Uber Eats‘ head of communications for delivery, Meghan Casserly, confirmed that there would be no delivery to The Verge.

Reuters first reported the bold policy change, as it gains attention in the marketplace. “We will continue to watch regulations and opportunities closely market by market. And as local and federal laws evolve, we will explore opportunities with merchants who operate in other regions,” the Uber spokesperson told Reuters.

When asked about expanding the service into other Canadian provinces, or the U.S., the spokesperson said there is “nothing more to share at this time.”

The collaboration between Tokyo Smoke and Uber will help Canadian adults purchase legal cannabis safely, with a goal to abate the thriving underground black market which still accounts for over 40 percent of all non-medical cannabis sales nationally, the Uber spokesperson added.

You can already order liquor through the Uber Eats app, and Uber executives zeroed in on the burgeoning cannabis industry long ago. 

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told CNBC last April the company will consider delivering cannabis when the legal coast is clear in the United States. “When the road is clear for cannabis, when federal laws come into play, we’re absolutely going to take a look at it,” he said at the time. 

Entry to the cannabis market in Canada represents an early move by a major company such as Uber, with steady growth predicted by multiple analyst groups.

The company has been eyeing the cannabis industry for years. In 2014, Uber encouraged stoned drivers to use the app and avoid drugged driving charges—amid new legal markets that began to emerge.

Last September, former Uber General Manager Leandre Johns joined the Flowhub executive team as Chief Operating Officer (COO). Flowhub provides innovative, modern tools, such as point-of-sale (POS) tools that transformed the cannabis space.

Uber Eats Collaboration with Tokyo Smoke

There are over 50 Tokyo Smoke locations scattered throughout Ontario, so finding a location close by isn’t a problem for locals. Locations can also be found in Alberta, and the brand is also one of only four companies granted a license to operate in Manitoba.

High Times highlighted Tokyo Smoke as a Top Brand in our December issue. “Your shopping experience should be nothing short of great,” the company stated. The cannabis store chain grew substantially during the 2021 year, with locations popping up left and right.

Tokyo Smoke was launched by father-and-son duo Alan and Lorne Gertner in 2015, and is now owned by Canopy Growth. The interior design of the stores gained praise from the media. Interior Design magazine, for instance, highlighted one of Tokyo Smoke’s Toronto locations. Part of the experience is choosing cannabis via Tokyo Smoke’s Intent system: Go, Rise, Equalize, Ease and Pause.

Tokyo Smoke products are verified for quality and can be traced back to a licensed producer—unlike some of the other companies around. 

Previously in 2019, Acreage Holdings announced its intention to open Tokyo Smoke locations in the United States, expanding its footprint.

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Canadian Groups Gives Free Weed And Edibles To Fight Opioid Abuse

Volunteer groups in Canada are providing relief to people struggling with addiction by giving away free marijuana and cannabis edibles as a substitution for opioids. Addiction experts, however, are wary that the unproven treatment might prevent people with opioid use disorder from seeking evidence-based therapies that have proven to be effective.

In London, Ontario, volunteers with the Cannabis Substitution Program set up a table outside a church each Tuesday to distribute packages of free cannabis and edibles to people who use drugs. Members of the group maintain that high doses of THC, as much as 100 milligrams baked into an edible, can serve as a substitute for opioids and other dangerous drugs while treating the symptoms of withdrawal. 

Since launching in April, the program has been popular, with up to 200 people showing up each week and forming a line that stretches down the block. Members of the group say that the cannabis it distributes is paid for and donated by private individuals.

Stefan Nichol, outreach director at Impact Church and a supporter of the substitution program, said that while cannabis is not a definitive treatment for opioid addiction and withdrawal, it can provide relief to those trying to break the cycle of drug abuse.

“To be honest, weed will never cure dope sickness,” Nichol told the CBC. “But it does help people sleep through a day of it.”

Cannabis Substitution Program volunteer Mary McCarty said that organizers began holding the weekly events to help address the city’s opioid epidemic after learning of similar initiatives in Vancouver, British Columbia and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“I thought, ‘You know what? London needs one of these,’” McCarty said. “It’s ridiculous what’s going on.”

In Halifax, volunteers with the East Coast Cannabis Substitution Program put together packages of cannabis to be handed out to people who use drugs every Monday. When CBC News visited the group at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, each package included a roll-your-own joint kit, a cannabis gummy, THC capsules, and edibles including chocolate, cookies and a meatloaf slider.

Volunteer Chris Backer, who travels to the city’s north end each week to hand out the packages, says that he believes the donations can help people quit more dangerous drugs. 

“It’s breaking the cycle of addiction,” he said last year. “Cannabis has been documented to be very successful and is an adjunct to try to help beat addiction.”

Addiction Experts Skeptical of Weed and Edibles as Substitute

Addiction experts including Steven Laviolette, professor in the School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University in London, however, are skeptical of using cannabis for those struggling with opioid abuse.

“I’m not aware of any evidence to suggest that would be effective as a substitute for opioid-related dependence and addiction,” he said.

But Laviolette acknowledged that cannabis may have a place in treating some forms of addiction. He has conducted research into the use of CBD as a treatment for amphetamine addiction.

“We were able to show that it quite literally blocked the activation of these drugs on the dopamine neurons, so the neurons would stop firing in the presence of CBD,” he said. “That has really strong implications for CBD as an anti-addiction treatment.”

Laviolette noted that researchers in the U.S. are also studying CBD’s potential as a treatment for opioid addiction. But he says that THC may pose a risk to some people with addiction disorders.

“THC has been shown to cause overactivation of addiction pathways in the brain,” he said. “It could make it even worse because THC would be ramping up the brain’s addiction pathways and could potentially make problems like relapse and withdrawal an even greater issue for people suffering with opioid dependence.”

Dr. Samuel Hickcox, the physician lead for addictions medicine at Nova Scotia Health, said that the cannabis substitution programs do not have “high-quality scientific evidence” to support their effectiveness. He fears that people will turn to cannabis instead of medications that have been proven to be an effective treatment for opioid addiction.

“That really worries me because we know that people who have an opioid addiction, if they are on medications like Suboxone or methadone, that their health will improve. They’re much less likely to have fatal overdoses,” he said. “If we take that away from people by offering an unproven alternative, we run the risk of actually causing more harm than benefit.”

McCarty, however, says that she has witnessed how the gifts of cannabis can positively impact those struggling with addiction.

“People come and thank us all the time,” she said.

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3 Years Of Legal Marijuana in Canada: Pros, Cons & What The US Can Learn

So much has happened in the three years and a month since Oct. 17, 2018 that you could be forgiven for forgetting the biggest news of that day: the first day of marijuana legalization in Canada.

America’s slightly more affable and polite neighbor to the north was the second country in the world after Uruguay to allow adults to possess, use, grow, and purchase cannabis — but the first to encourage what could be called “an industry,” welcoming international investors onto to Canadian Stock Exchange, and allowing the construction of titanic greenhouses big enough to get everybody on the continent buzzed.

Though many Americans know Canadian cannabis mostly through the billion-dollar publicly traded companies, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government initially set out to accomplish three things with legalization, (none of them to do with business): Keep weed away from kids; “keep profits out of the pockets of criminals” (that’s what a Bitcoin wallet is for); and to “protect public health and safety” by allowing full-grown adults to buy legal pot, from neither kids nor criminals.

Three years on, with top Senate Democrats pitching federal marijuana legalization in the United States to their colleagues and more U.S. states legalizing cannabis themselves, how’s all that going? Cannabis Now consulted with experts and crunched the numbers. Here’s what we found: a project still in motion, with some appreciable results in some areas, that still badly fails to deliver in others.

Public Health: A Win-Win-Win

Buying weed on the “traditional market” is usually fine. Over the past 50 or so years of cannabis prohibition, the drug remained one of the safest ways to catch a buzz, with no recorded deaths — but can be sometimes dangerous, as the vape-lung crisis of late 2019 in the United States demonstrated. Sixty-eight people died and thousands were hospitalized after using vaporizer products purchased on the illicit market, cut with a food additive that coated lungs in a viscous goo.

Notably, that did not happen in Canada. And that terrible pesticide scandal — one of several — happened in the old medical cannabis days, when Health Canada was in charge of a few giant medical growers. Since then, Canadians are able to purchase legal cannabis online or in person. They can go to a store or get cannabis delivered to them.

True, it did take some time for dispensaries to offer vapes and edibles, and access can depend on where you live, but that did all eventually happen, and with the online option—what’s the problem?

“From a public health perspective, things are working great,” said Daniel Bear, a professor of criminal justice at Humber College in Toronto, who has studied the cannabis legalization movement extensively. “You’ve got tested, safe, regulated products, and you’ve got methods other than combustion that people can access easily.

Profits: Strangled By Regulation, Or True Pipe Dreams?

In at least one way, Canada like Pennsylvania, or New Hampshire — if not Florida.

If you want to buy liquor in the Granite or Keystone states, you have to go to a state-owned liquor store. Initially, cannabis sales in Ontario, Canada’s biggest province, were also all going to be through a state-owned merchant, though a changeover in political parties running the province in 2018 altered the formula somewhat. But for years there were strict regulations in place limiting how many private businesses can sell cannabis, and where — meaning Canadian cannabis resembled the tightly controlled markets in U.S. cannabis states including Florida and New Jersey.

More recently, Ontario lifted the cap and a “significant retail sprawl ensued,” as business professors Joseph Aversa, Jenna Jacobson and Tony Hernandez, writing in the Conversation put it, with the number of retail stores expanding from 25 to 1,000.

The saga is significant as a case study for Americans for a few reasons: Under a federalist system, the reality is going to be different from province to province, or state to state — cannabis in Kentucky won’t be the same as in Colorado — but the common thread is almost certainly going to be strict control determining what the market can and can’t do, and the market chafing at the bit.

But while government may have constricted retail capacity, government encouraged a supply explosion. Those massive greenhouses and grow operations are producing more cannabis than anyone has demonstrated they need or want. Many have gone bust, laying off hundreds of people and creating massive losses for publicly traded companies and their shareholders, red ink that may only be balanced in some uncertain future, when Canadian weed stones the world.

If that ever happens.

“A mix of greed and naiveté led this industry to great heights – and has left it on its knees,” as cannabis consultant Alastair Moore told the Guardian last year. While some made lots of money, others lost their investments and now many others have lost their jobs.”

Then again, that’s not government’s fault, per se. Government is allowing private enterprise to do this after all. They didn’t say everyone would get rich. And the country is richer overall.

“There’s a billion dollars added to the GDP, there’s tens of thousands of people employed. From a commercial perspective, things are working,” said Humber College’s Bear. “The market’s working fairly well despite the regulations and large corporations doing their best to get in the way of that, almost.”

Though there are the usual hiccups, disruptions, and growing pains — as well as the complaints about overregulation, or big business taking over — the fact that cannabis in Canada after legalization is behaving like any other strictly regulated industry is sign that something’s working.

But not everything. The biggest shortcoming in Canada is also one of marijuana legalization’s biggest promises: Justice.

Criminal and Social Justice: Fail

It’s worthwhile remembering who it was that pushed hardest for legalization in Canada, and what they did before they were policymakers. Trudeau’s point man for legalization, the politician credited with making it happen, was Bill Blair, a former Toronto chief of police.

Blair was concerned about a market, concerned about the kids, and concerned about product safety. As Bear observed, Blair was not concerned too much about the people he used to put in jail for weed, who do not enjoy what fruits legalization offer.

“No one said, ‘Oh, and by the way, we screwed over people for the better part of a century, and they were disproportionately nonwhite, let’s make sure they’re empowered or have the harm done to them reduced,’” he said.

What Blair did do was add more crime. Handing a joint to someone under 18 can lead to a years-long prison term — a punishment much stricter than handing them a beer. Though possibly as many as 250,000 people have cannabis offenses on their records for which they’re eligible to be pardoned, getting a pardon is so expensive and time consuming that only about 400 people have secured one, as CTV reported in March.

As a review from two University of Toronto researchers found last year, Black, Latino, and First Nation people are still arrested for cannabis at rates much higher than whites. And this is after legalization. One problem is that the size of the problem is still something Canada has yet to fully assess.

“Canadian cannabis legalization lacks measures to redress the racialized harms caused by the war on drugs because the full extent of these harms remains largely unknown,” as researchers Akwasi Owusu-Bempah and Alex Luscombe wrote.

Three years on in Canada, people are buying safe product from big companies at prices some feel are too high, partially due to taxes, while people who suffered to continue to suffer and don’t enjoy equal access to the opportunity presented. If this sounds like legalization in some states in the U.S., it should. And absent some major reform at Congress and in state capitols, this is probably what legalization in the U.S. will look like, too.

The post 3 Years Of Legal Marijuana in Canada: Pros, Cons & What The US Can Learn appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Cannabis Legalization in Canada: Three Years On

Although the world is showing definite progress, full cannabis legalization within a nation is an overall rarity. Georgia, the Netherlands, Mexico, South Africa, Uruguay and 18 states in the US, make up the majority of places that have decided to legalize both medical and recreational cannabis.

Many countries have legalized medical cannabis, but the next step of allowing for recreational use is often a step too far for most nations. Therefore, when Canada took that step in 2018, many people were excited to see how things would change in the country. However, the year is now 2021, and three years have passed. Has the country changed? Has cannabis become easily accessible? Or is Canada in a stagnant position? Let’s find out. 

Since Canada legalized cannabis a few years ago, the entire world has had their eyes on our neighbors up north, and it has been an interesting thus far. To learn more about global cannabis regulation, make sure to subscribe to The Medical Cannabis Weekly Newsletter, your top source for all things cannabis-related including exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other products! Save big on Delta 8Delta 9 THCDelta-10THCOTHCVTHCP & HHC products by checking out our “Best-of” lists!


Cannabis Legalization 

Cannabis legalization is never just as simple as yes or no. The cannabis plant is a complex beast, made up of 100 cannabinoids, and countries have varying laws depending on which cannabinoid is in question. That is where things begin to become complicated. Whilst CBD is legal in the majority of countries around the world, THC is not. This is, most obviously, because CBD is not a psychoactive substance, but THC is. THC is responsible for the well-known ‘high’ that people associate with cannabis. The easiest way to judge a country’s cannabis policy is to look into its views on medical cannabis (used for medicinal purposes) vs its view on recreational cannabis (use for enjoyment).

Medical

Medicinal cannabis is cannabis that is used to treat both mental and physical conditions. Both THC and CBD have been found to assist with various health problems. These include: 

  • Chronic pain 
  • Cancer symptoms
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Tourettes
  • Epilepsy
  • Insomnia 
  • Concentration

Medical cannabis is usually the first one to be legalized in a country, as government’s find it hard to disprove how many people’s conditions have been improved by the wonders of cannabis. The evidence is often a slap in the face to any anti-drug governments; it’s impossible to ignore. 

Recreational 

On the other hand, recreational cannabis is a tougher subject. Legalizing any drug for the sole purpose of allowing people to use it for fun is always something that governments find hard to do. It requires an overall trust in the population and solid knowledge of drugs. However, some would argue that any use of cannabis is, in a way, medication. Halcyon Organics states:

“I encourage all “recreational” cannabis users to reevaluate their use.  If there is a prescription or over-the-counter drug designed to treat something that cannabis helps you with, that’s medical use.  If they sell something at GNC or Vitamin World that cannabis helps you with, that’s medical use.  You may not use these other medications because you already know that cannabis is a superior treatment, you just didn’t realize it.

However, most countries do not have this view. That is why the legalization of recreational cannabis is a lot rarer than medicinal. But for those countries that have legalized both uses of cannabis, does it always lead to better conditions? Are the people who need cannabis any closer to getting it after their country has fully legalized cannabis? Let’s take a look at some of the problems that can arise in nations that say yes to marijuana.

Problems That Arise

Price 

When cannabis is legalized, the price is always majorly important. Usually those in need of cannabis will have had to get their medication from street dealers and the dark web before legalization has taken place. Therefore, it’s important that when cannabis is legalized, the companies are able to match or even beat the prices of those other sources. If not, it will be extremely difficult for those who are unable to afford the cost of prescriptions. They may be forced to return to their previous sources and risk being prosecuted and fined. In Amsterdam, the prices stay low due to the heavy competition between coffee shops. There are over 160 establishments that sell cannabis in the capital of the Netherlands, which means a lot of healthy competition and, in result, cheap weed. 

Accessibility

Accessibility is another issue that rises once cannabis has been legalized. How easy is it to get a hold of? Some countries require a huge amount of evidence from a doctor before being able to retrieve medical cannabis. This is difficult if health providers have not done proper research into cannabis as a medicine, and which illnesses require it. In addition, if there aren’t many cannabis shops or dispensaries within a city, it can be difficult for someone to purchase cannabis. Especially if they are unable to travel. This is, again, when street dealers and the dark web become an easier option. 

Cannabis In Canada

On the 17th October 2018, Canada legalized cannabis in all areas for adults 18 and over. This made Canada only the second country in the world to legalize recreational cannabis. The first was Uruguay in 2013. Under the Cannabis Act of 2018, the sale and production of cannabis products became legal by territorial retailers and federally licensed sellers of cannabis for medical purposes. 

What’s Legal?

In Canada it’s legal to purchase cannabis from specific establishments, it’s legal to consume cannabis and it’s legal to grow up to 4 cannabis plants at home. You’re able to sell cannabis only if you’re licensed by Health Canada. Medical cannabis is also legal and prescribed if authorized by a healthcare provider. 

What’s Illegal?

Selling cannabis without a license is illegal and dealt with strictly. In addition, driving high is of course illegal. The police force in Canada are especially trained in identifying high drivers. 

Why did Canada Legalize Cannabis?

Canada decided to legalize cannabis as a national experiemnet. They wanted to see if by legalizing cannabis, they would be able to regulate and own the problems that surround the drug. So why did they want to fully legalize cannabis?

Inequality

One reason was to conquer inequality.

“Legalization, the government vowed, would address the inequalities in a criminal justice system where marijuana and hashish penalties and prosecutions — and the lifelong burdens they impose — had fallen disproportionately on marginalized communities, particularly Black Canadians and Indigenous people.”

They hoped that by legalizing cannabis, strict penalties on minority groups would diminish and as such not have long-term effects on their lives. 

Accessibility

The Canadian government also hoped that by legalizing cannabis, it would become more accessible to those who desperately need it. They hoped this would also then avoid people being prosecuted or fined when using cannabis as medication.

Youth Cannabis Consumption

Another issue that Canada was facing was the amount of young people consuming cannabis. They wanted to regulate cannabis and the legal age of consumption in order to stop youngsters from purchasing it. 

Taxation

Finally, Canada wanted to benefit from the taxation on cannabis sales. The Netherlands are widely known to make around 400 million euros from cannabis sales in coffeeshops. This money can be used to put back into the economy.

How’s It Going Three Years Later?

So, the question is, after three years how is Canada’s cannabis experiment going? Have their aims been achieved or is it still too early to tell? 

Well, in regards to inequality, cannabis legalization has slightly dealt with this. National prosecutions were at 26,000 in 2018, and have now dropped significantly to 46 only. It’s still illegal to possess over 30 grams of cannabis in Canada. This has, evidently, also benefited those who were most likely to be prosecuted: minority groups. However, an important statistic to remember is that within the new cannabis industry, 84% of directors and executives are white males. So the cannabis industry in Canada is hardly diverse itself. 

Has cannabis become more accessible? Well, there are over 2000 cannabis stores in Canada, and this number is definitely rising. In addition:

“According to the government’s most recent survey, 27 per cent of participants reported having used marijuana in the past year — an increase from 22 per cent in the first cannabis survey conducted in 2017” 

Plus, the prices of legal cannabis is definitely going down. In 2020, the average price of a gram in Canada was around $11 a gram, whereas in 2021 it’s now around $9 a gram. This shows an obvious decrease and that the industry is benefitting from healthy competition between retailers.

Are Canada’s youth being deterred from cannabis consumption? Well, the truth is that it’s hard to fully find this out at this point in time. But, there’s no doubt that cannabis shops are far more strict on age checks than street dealers are. Shop owners could risk losing their licenses if they aren’t. Therefore, it’s unlikely that cannabis is being sold to underage children legally. However, it’s hard to tell if this is still happening illegally. 

And finally, what about taxation? Well, in 2020, Canada made $2.6 billion from cannabis sales. This is a 120% increase from 2019. This statistic alone proves that cannabis taxation is working within the reasonably new Canadian cannabis industry. 

What do you think? 

So, there you have it, Canada three years after they legalized cannabis. Do you think their country has improved, or could they be doing more to truly benefit from legal cannabis? The truth is, Canada set the standards for cannabis legalization round the world in 2018, let’s hope they can continue that. 

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Burb, Green Label and Coffee & Kush: Partnership over Competition

Everyone involved in the legal industry in California has seen, while being green with envy, the moves happening up in Canada. Our neighboring country to the north legalized cannabis seemingly ages ago at this point (almost four years?), though their roll-out hasn’t been without its challenges.

While I believe we all celebrate the increased access to the plant we care for so dearly, silly federal restrictions aimed at “protecting the kids” have certainly dampened the celebrations. Though they may have more access on paper, it’s actually been more restrictive to build a brand that resonates up there.

Down here in California, however, despite still facing a federal prohibition that requires all its THC wares to remain within the state, it’s clear that the sky’s the limit when building a brand name here. With many of our elite, commanding, top-dollar the world over, even the government can’t contain the hype that’s built off of what most consider to be the best bud in the world. In fact, many don’t even have to have thorough brand identities to pop—just the right goods.

So what would happen if Canada and California combined forces? Could the prolific BC bud make the same kind of waves down here that it has up north for so long? Could the California market make a Canadian brand pop in a way that resonates internationally? Could a brand that finds success down here ride the wave across the provinces? A new amalgamation of brands is betting on it.

Burb Co-Founder John Kaye
Courtesy Burb

Enter Burb

Founded in early 2018, Burb is a British Columbia-based, culture-minded cannabis retailer and merchandiser of quality goods. Led by John Kaye, who serves as the brand’s CEO and Creative Director, the brand was initially founded to support artists and creative movements.

As John tells me, “In a time of corporate cannabis takeover, we set out to build a brand that kept the bridge between cannabis and the arts alive, so we built weed stores that gave us plenty of cash flows to put back into the community.”

Originally born in Minsk, Russia, and having lived in Israel, Vancouver, and Los Angeles, Mr. Kaye is something of an artist himself. Having toured across North America playing in a four-piece rock ‘n’ roll band in his youth, it was the business side of things that interested him the most.

After going back to school and getting his diploma, and after a brief gig in finance left him creatively starved, he called his BCIT classmate, Clayton Chessa, with the idea of building a cannabis testing lab.

After a successful exit with their lab, Northern Vine, Kaye saw an opportunity to get back to his roots while supporting a community that was losing its grip in the face of legalization. With Clayton by his side, and with the help of another childhood friend, Steve Dowsley, who had just sold his previous company, the trio started Burb.

“For me, a great brand is defined as a real community. It’s not the logo. It’s not the packaging. It’s on-the-ground relationships—late nights and being in the fucking trenches. You say you’re a ‘lifestyle’ brand? Show me,” John explained.

Burb
Courtesy Burb

What started as a Canadian pipe dream, a lifestyle shop and dispensary to lead, as opposed to follow, the culture, evolved into a full-fledged lifestyle brand. Now with five shop licenses, three of which are already operating Burb-branded dispensaries in Vancouver, with three more on the way—including the upcoming first-ever dispensary on a college campus at the University of British Columbia, Burb has rapidly established itself as a formidable player in the legal market up north.

Alongside their cannabis retail business, the team established a media arm to produce content from industry-leading creators like Paper Magazine founder David Hershkovits, and a merchandise line that includes apparel and smoking equipment you’ll actually want to have around.

What’s better, each store aims to provide a unique experience compared to other cannabis retailers. The team is hard at work building their evolution of the retail experience, a creative exploration site, which, while providing retail and merchandise sales on the first two floors, will have two more above, built exclusively for artists, by artists. Featuring specific cultural cornerstones, like music studios, and even potentially basketball courts in the future, it’s clear that pushing things forward was always part of the game plan.

 “At Burb, we’re honoring the legacy and designing the future of cannabis culture” Kaye stated matter of factly.

“Creating My Own Destiny”

Although things have been moving quite well up north, the team at Burb couldn’t help thinking there was more room to flex, both creatively and culturally. In an effort to skirt some of the restrictions plaguing them back home, the gang started working towards establishing roots south of their border down here in California.

Problem Wearing Burb’s Forthcoming Fall Collection at Hall of Flowers
Courtesy Burb

Having been connected with Los Angeles artist and producer Problem for his ‘4 the Low’ music video shoot, it seemed like the stars had started to align.

“For us, there’s a big crossover to the music space. We were already doing it. When Problem’s team approached us to be in his video with Wiz, we started to consider the bigger opportunity, especially after learning about the cannabis business he was building in Cali.” John continued.

What started as a conversation around product placement in a music video quickly snowballed. Burb was looking to make a play down here, Problem was looking to further dip his feet into the space, and it just so happened that Problem’s wife Daphne knew a woman named Chanel, who had an opp set up with her friend Kelly and her husband, Jason McKnight, who he had already heard was a real OG. The pieces were falling into place on their own.

In that vein, let’s zoom out a second and take a look at the other players here.

Coffee & Kush

Problem, born Jason Martin, had already lived several lives himself by this point. Raised in Compton, he surprisingly never planned to be a rapper, or a cannabis entrepreneur. Problem actually grew up wanting to play basketball. In fact, that’s where his name comes from.

“They used to call me a ‘Problem’ on the court!” he told me.

After realizing that basketball might not go according to plan, music—which at first was purely for fun, and impressing women, of course—became something that took more and more of his time. Eventually, it became the focus.

Now, this isn’t a piece on his storied career as an independent artist, but it’s worth noting that after being monetized by other brands throughout his career, Problem saw an opportunity with his last contracted album to utilize all his efforts to build something for himself and for his community.

Originally conceptualized as a merchandise line, Coffee & Kush has always been more of a lifestyle brand—despite how overused that term has become, this one’s it. The thing is, this wasn’t always his lifestyle, so just how much of a difference that equation makes is all the clearer for him.

Courtesy Burb

You see, Problem didn’t start to consume until he was having his first child. While he has memories of the plant dating back to childhood, having grown up with a mother who was growing and smoking as long as he could remember, he didn’t see the allure when he was young, especially with an eye on the NBA. However, it was ironically his mother who eventually got him to give it a shot.

“My mom was the one who was like, ‘You need to smoke. You’re taking on a whole lot at a very young age.” He explained, “So I tried it, and it became part of my lifestyle, in my day to day. All that shit I’ve seen since the early 80s, so to me, weed has never been wrong, I just didn’t want to do the shit my mom did,” he continued. “But the system was running me through it … Then it all happened at the same time. I’m smoking, doin’ music. Smoking, doing music.”

“Let Me Pimp Me For A Second”

Having found success with his music career, Problem began to set new sights for himself. Understanding how his creative content could be used to propel products, the rapper set his sights on diversifying his offering.

“It just came to me: Coffee & Kush. This is what I’m rapping about all day, because this is what I’m doing all day. What I’m using to finish this album.” Problem explained.

“It was really just a unique way to brand the music. Then I figured, so many companies have used me to sell their products, if I’m going to start talking about Coffee & Kush all the time, I need to have my own products. I use my own content to push my own products, not the other way around.”

Before even exploring the cannabis route, Problem had two products almost immediately ready to launch alongside the project: Coffee & Kush mugs (with a bowl fashioned into the mug so you can smoke while you drink), and Green Hour Coffee (sold exclusively through Harun Coffee in LA).

It wasn’t until his friend Mike Asseraf suggested a preroll line that things really started to take off. After putting the pieces together for the Burb video, Problem remembered a story his wife had told him about Kelly’s husband …

Green Label Rx Founder Jason McKnight
Courtesy Burb

Becoming A Pharmacist

Of all the players in this new squad, likely the most deserving of his spot is legacy operator Jason McKnight. Born in Los Angeles, and having moved to Northern California at a young age, Jason has been proliferating the plant since 1996—long before the glamorous industry we all hear about today.

Although he didn’t begin to build his own cultivations until 2001, much like Problem, Jason became familiar with the plant at a very young age. Living with family members who dealt as their primary source of income, cannabis was originally just a way for him to make ends meet.

“It was a survival tool.” Jason explains. “I wanted to make some money. It was a hustle, I didn’t even smoke weed at first. I didn’t want to do drugs. I had seen drugs destroy lives. I was going to play football.”

“But it became something that I loved,” he continues. “I remember the day I smoked … Football doesn’t always pan out. So I was stressed out; I was by myself, and I smoked some weed. My life changed, instantly. It was the medicine I needed in life to really calm me down. And then that became something that I loved.”

His love, plus his fortunate position of being in the right place at the right time, lit the fire.

“I was someone that was from Northern California at a time when there wasn’t good weed in LA. I already knew everybody from Football, but then I became the plug!” Jason recounted excitedly. “I was always wanting to try to advance myself in life, whether through cannabis or hard work. Whatever it is, I’m gonna work hard at it, but I just felt like cannabis was the thing, the future.”

A feeling that he doubled down on when a friend approached him with a $6,400 pound of OG, and he realized that the need for indoor cultivation would skyrocket.

“2001 is when I got my first plants … I was self-taught at that point because indoor cultivation, that wasn’t information that people shared. It was very hush-hush. I perfected it, learning the hard way, going through the ups and downs. It wasn’t always a success.”

“But back then, if you had five, or man, 10 pounds of [indoor] product, buyers would go crazy. There was not enough flower.”

It was at a High Times Cannabis Cup in San Bernardino, ironically the event where Problem performed, that Jason realized he needed to begin branding his work, and Green Label RX was born.

Courtesy Burb

The Dues Paid for Green Label

Despite following the rules set forth by the state at that time, scaling up proved to be a devastating blow for McKnight. After obtaining a delivery license with his wife Kelly, he was raided by the LA County Sheriff Narcos on January 19, 2016.

Having seized his products and property, the state even took his three children. It was clear, despite being only months from adult-use legalization in the state, that the government was trying to make an example out of the trailblazers of this burgeoning industry. However, despite the setbacks, the McKnights didn’t quit.

Though it took four-and-a-half years, the McKnights fought the case tirelessly. After 11 months, their children were returned—which they were told was a fast turn around. (As an aside, it’s worth noting that their now four children are all flourishing in their home, with both of their parents).

That was only the beginning of the battle, though. Upon the return of their children, prosecutors charged Jason and his wife with 30-plus felonies and used a swath of low brow tactics to try and break up their family and make an example out of them. While this also isn’t a piece on the disturbing realities of the criminal justice system in America, it’s worth looking up for yourself.

Again, though, the McKnights didn’t quit. Since Proposition 64 had passed during this process, Jason and his wife began to apply for licenses to become legal cannabis operators while on trial. Although it certainly seems like the whole case should have been thrown out after the state legalized the very products they were selling, that didn’t happen, and the McKnights ended up losing their case.

It was while he was in jail, waiting for sentencing, that Jason found out he was awarded his license—ironically because of the case he had just faced. Jason, with the help of his wife Kelly, built the foundation for his new legal business while locked up for participating in the legacy industry.

Flash forward to today, and it’s a much different picture for the McKnights. Jason is now running multiple facilities, growing some of the best cannabis in the state, and is partnered with some of the most amazing brands and breeders in the world. In his eyes, he went from his absolute rock bottom, to as high as he could imagine, in just a few years. He had already been whitelabelling for others when some Canadians, and Problem approached him to talk, so the deal just made sense.

Courtesy Burb

“You Gotta Become the Avengers to Go Against the World”

“When you know somebody has been through something, you can kind of talk to them in a different kind of way, so I just said I think we can do something really special,” Problem recalled of his first conversation with Jason.

With Burb understanding retail logistics and branding in a way their new partners couldn’t fathom, Green Label’s legacy cultivation skills earned on the back of trial and error, and the creative and marketing engine that is Problem and his team, the synergy between the three groups was almost instantaneously realized.

Although they’re quick to point out that there isn’t one parent company running the whole show, this partnership represents their collective understanding that there’s room for everyone to eat, and everyone to grow.

“It’d be impossible to push that through one brand, in one bag, the way I was thinking about it,” Problem noted.

“And that’s kind of the social equity thing, like you have two groups that come together. You have one person that, obviously he’s gone through the system, whether it’s a conviction or whatever, an arrest that’s cannabis related, and then you have another group that’s supposed to bring the financing, or someone that knows how to run a business. That’s the main thing they’re trying to add. We already got that,” Jason explained.

“This right here is a different crew of guys. I see what everybody else is doing. I get excited just watching how things get rolled out. But this—this is not built in fluff. This is built in a very very true story, and that, that’s what’s going to attract people to us. And then when you get here, the weed is so fucking fire that you’re going to stay,” Problem joked.

“We are not growers ourselves; we always come from the consumer mindset, and we know what we like. We partner with the best—we’re curators first and foremost. When I came down here, and I saw what was happening, I was convinced. This is an incredible team,” John noted.

“We’re basically bringing the future here. These guys, Burb—they’re living in the future. So you’ve got to exchange information. It’s not about who gets what, it’s about the minds melding,“ Problem continued.

“I’m looking at this like, if Martin Holdings is Interscope Records. I know what it’s like when you get a Kendrick Lamar. You can leverage everything. So what if you get a Kendrick AND Drake? Oh wow, they (consumers) are going to buy everything.”

Courtesy Burb

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

So what did this new crew claiming Compton, NorCal, and BC turn out? So far this alliance of brands has seen a handful of their ideations enter the market, and thanks to Jason’s cultivation skill, they’re all smoking proper.

First, there was the California launch of Burb’s cannabis products at Hall of Flowers, including cultivars Butter Tarts and Beaver Tail. Then there was Green Label’s own branded eighths, as well as their new hemp blunt line, which also powers Burb’s Beaver Tail Blunts (which include a plastic beaver tail mouthpiece).

This was followed by Problem’s Coffee and Kush cannabis line, which was released exclusively through Wonderbrett in Black, and Cappuccino, and Mocha varietals. It’s clear the squad has hit the ground running in just a few short months working together.

With plenty of other projects on the horizon, including Benny’s prerolls, Roots Genetics (which will serve as Jason’s breeding and development company), as well as Burb retail stores within California’s state limits, I expect we’ll all be seeing and hearing more from the weed avengers soon.

“I’m pinching myself because, this is it. This is the dream.” Jason concludes. “I’m so excited for these next few years in the cannabis space, just to grow, and to try and achieve even higher goals. Whatever it is, I just want to always have a blunt in my hand like this.”

The post Burb, Green Label and Coffee & Kush: Partnership over Competition appeared first on High Times.