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By the ounce  

Three cannabis retailers talk consumer product trends

Sativa hot in the summer

Sativa in the summer, Indica in the winter.

That’s a noticeable trend at Seed to Soul Boutique in Armstrong, says owner Tienne Bayrack.

While consumer taste for type of flower varies by season, she says. The dominant format remains consistent.

“We sell a lot of pre-rolls,” says Bayrack. “Those are probably the most popular at any given time.”

The popularity of pre-rolls is something that has surprised a lot of cannabis producers and retailers in Canada’s legal weed marketplace.

Bayrack has been in the cannabis game for 15 years. At one point she had a licensed medical grow facility, which she sold to a major licensed producer before shifting into retail.

She says she wanted to support legacy growers and she makes a point of sourcing B.C. products.

Seed to Soul has developed a niche in Armstrong helping all demographics.

“The Friday crowd varies from the Monday crowd,” she says. “We’ve got a lot of people who smoked back in the day and are reintroducing themselves to it.”

Meanwhile at Seed to Stone (a similarly named but different store), which has several locations in the Lower Mainland, there’s been a consumer interest toward concentrates.

Jeremy Selby, who’s in charge of purchasing for Seed and Stone’s cannabis stores, says expanded selection and competitive pricing has contributed to that trend. Some of the top concentrate brands are Kolab and Earthwolf Farms.

More novelty items have also been catching people’s eye, he says, including hash sticks, moon rocks, and vapes featuring minor cannabinoids, such as CBN.

At Spiritleaf in West Kelowna, owner Michael Adams says there’s a large base of CBD customers.

Gummies are in top spot for edibles, and he says they’re noticing the beverage category gaining popularity.

“Now that the industry has matured, we are seeing customers gravitate towards larger 28-gram dried flower formats,” he adds.

PAX pods and 510-thread vape carts, which heat cannabis concentrate into a vapour to be inhaled, have been developed a foothold.

“With how convenient vapour products are, they have definitely become a store favourite. No lighter, no ash, no smell, no problem.”

Personally, Adams says he’s a fan of B.C. craft cannabis, full-spectrum vapes and sublinguals, adding he also dabbles in concentrates and edibles.

David Wylie is publisher of the oz. magazine. For more cannabis trends, go to theounce.ca.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.





Reviewing three options for cannabis edibles

Eat, drink, and get high

If you’re more into eating and drinking than smoking and vaping, there are lots of edible options when it comes to cannabis.

Here are three:

Spicy Dill Pickle gummies by Sunshower

I’ll admit, this is the most apprehensive I’ve felt toward any cannabis gummy flavour to date.

Sunshower’s Spicy Dill Pickle gummies are one of the first savoury style gummies to enter the cannabis space. They smell just like dill pickle chips—and while my mouth was watering, my brain was confused.

At first taste, the gummies are sweet from the sugary coating, but after a few chews, pickles and spice take the driver’s seat. The colour is very much pickle green, with a dusting of sugar. As with other Sunshower gummies, the texture makes for a satisfying chew without feeling too rubbery. Two gummies come in the package, each at five milligrams THC for a total of 10 milligrams per bag. They’re a fun novelty, but are perhaps a little too far out in left-field to eat regularly—unless you really like pickles.

Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Bar by Phat420

One of my biggest gripes about cannabis chocolate is, often, you get a tiny little bite. Just give me a proper portion size! With its Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Bar, Phat420 does just that—gives you a proper chocolate bar. The best part of this treat is the covering of hazelnuts on one side, which gives the bar a great crunch. The other side is inscribed with the word “Choklat.” The milk chocolate itself is sweet and milky, with a similar taste to Easter bunny chocolate. The whole bar contains 10 milligrams of THC, which is extracted using CO2. This is great value at $5 and feels like a full snack instead of a tease.

Mexican Drinking Chocolate by Phat420

This drink was not what I expected. If you’re looking for a sweet cup of soothing cocoa, you won’t find it with Mexican Drinking Chocolate by Phat420. I’m no stranger to spicy food, and I expected a bit of heat seeing that cayenne is one of the ingredients listed. But I admit I was unprepared for exactly how picante this was going to be. Three sips in and my nose was runny. After about seven sips I was considering pre-emptive Pepto Bismol. About halfway through, I got the heat hiccups. Near the end, I filled the glass up with milk and through sheer willpower gulped it down because I refused to dump $10 down the drain. On the positive side, it smells good when you open it. There is a subtleness of chocolate and spiciness, however the nutmeg and cloves stand out the most. Unfortunately, the intriguing smell doesn’t translate into flavour. As for packaging, the chocolate drinking mix was packaged only in the one bag, avoiding the double packaging some products use. It’s cool to see a hot chocolate-type drink out there now. But this one was not to my taste.

David Wylie is publisher of the oz. magazine. For more reviews of legal cannabis products, go to theounce.ca.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



Kelowna takes a ‘friendly’ approach to cannabis industry

High-powered summit

The cloud of cannabis smoke was thick during the opening festivities of the B.C. Cannabis Summit last week on the rooftop of the historic Eldorado Hotel in Kelowna.

If you looked hard enough through the haze, you saw some faces you wouldn’t expect at a 4/20 light-up.

“How’s your wife?” asked Kelowna–Lake Country Conservative MP Tracy Gray of one attendee as he re-lit his joint. Well-known Kelowna Coun. Maxine Dehart was also in on that conversation.

A little further along the rooftop, South Okanagan–West Kootenay NDP MP Richard Cannings spoke with others about potential federal legalization in the U.S. and how Nelson’s economic roots were once buried in the illicit weed economy.

While the MPs didn’t spark a doobie themselves (rather sticking to a conventional glass of wine), just the fact they were there was notable, even if the conversation got a little awkward at times.

Throughout the three-day summit—the first of its kind in Kelowna—participation by some of the community’s most influential residents was an admirable show of progressive thinking.

Tourism Kelowna CEO Lisanne Ballantyne spoke at the conference and also sat on a panel about cannabis tourism and economic development.

She said Tourism Kelowna has worked on bringing cannabis business events to the community—such as the summit.

“You are our first success,” she said. “It’s a big deal. You guys are the hottest ticket in town, you’re (event) sold out, the media covered you even before you opened your doors. People are paying attention.”

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran attended and spoke at the closing ceremony on the second day.

He told the crowd Kelowna is “cannabis friendly” and welcomes “entrepreneurs, innovators and progressive thinkers.”

“We’ve seen the craft brewing and distilling market take off in the last five years as more young entrepreneurs and crafts people are drawn to our city,” said Basran.

“I know this same potential exists for the craft cannabis sector here in our city with many aspects of the business to explore and develop.”

The list of dignitaries who attended the summit to speak also included a handful of MPs representing the three major political parties, as well as LCRB manager Leanne Davies and Secretariat representative David Coney.

To continue some local name-dropping, Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission manager Krista Mallory made the point cannabis should be treated like any other sector, such as tech or wine.

It wasn’t all about policymaking and politicking, there was a lot of fun to be had too.

Still, perhaps the biggest takeaway from the summit was how quickly it became clear people and organizations from outside the cannabis smoke circle were willing to step inside the skunky huddle in a spirit of mutual co-operation and respect.

David Wylie is publisher of theounce.ca and the oz. cannabis magazine, which is in cannabis stores throughout the Okanagan. Email [email protected].

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.





Cannabis mentions in federal budget a sign of friendlier relations

Said 'cannabis' nine times

It may not seem like a lot, but cannabis was mentioned a total of nine times in the 2022 federal budget document. That’s eight more times than in 2021.

The proposed budget, unveiled Thursday in Ottawa by the Liberal government, hints toward a more open and productive relationship with the cannabis industry.

In the nearly four years since legalization in 2018, the Liberals have practically worn oven mitts while handling the hot potato of pot policy. Cannabis has been seen only through the lenses of public health and crime.

This latest budget puts the growing weed industry as an important economic consideration, nationally and internationally.

Called: “A Plan to Grow Our Economy and Make Life More Affordable,” the budget includes a section titled “Engaging the Cannabis Sector.”

“As a relatively new sector of the (Canadian) economy, it is important that the federal government and all stakeholders have a clear understanding of the challenges and opportunities that are facing Canada’s legal cannabis sector,” says the budget document.

“Budget 2022 proposes launching a new cannabis strategy table that will support an ongoing dialogue with businesses and stakeholders in the cannabis sector.”

The cannabis strategy table would be led by the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

That’s a notable departure from Health Canada handling the file and overseeing the creation and interpretation of the rules that regulate everything—including licensing, growing, packaging, medical and marketing.

The Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development’s overall mandate is to

“improve conditions for investment, enhance Canada’s innovation performance, increase Canada’s share of global trade and build a fair, efficient and competitive marketplace.”

The federal strategy table will create opportunities for the government to hear from industry leaders and identify ways to work together to grow the legal cannabis sector in Canada, says the budget document.

This new formalized engagement would be in addition to proposed changes to the cannabis excise duty framework that were detailed in the Tax Supplementary Information.

Cannabis also appears further on in the budget in relation to a previous commitment on jurisdiction for Indigenous governments.

“As committed in Budget 2021, the government will work with Indigenous groups and organizations on a potential fuel, alcohol, cannabis, and tobacco (FACT) sales tax framework as an additional option for Indigenous governments to exercise tax jurisdiction,” says the budget document.

“The government has a continued interest in facilitating taxation arrangements between interested provinces or territories and Indigenous governments.”

So what does this actually mean?

The nine mentions of the word “cannabis” in the 300-plus-page Canadian budget document signal the government acknowledges pot as a growing global opportunity that requires a federal strategy. (In the 2021 budget document, it was mentioned only once, in relation to an Indigenous tax option.)

The new cannabis strategy table is a long-overdue invitation (to allow for) for the pot industry to sit at the table.

But wait there’s (probably) more.

One of the most talked about social justice issues in cannabis has been the criminal records that have dogged people over small cannabis crimes.

The newly minted Liberal-NDP deal carries potential for further changes to cannabis regulations—notably on the issue of expungements.

The NDP championed expungements over pardons during the last election campaign and may use its new position to push that forward.

David Wylie is publishing editor of the oz., a cannabis magazine based in the Okanagan. The spring 2022 edition is now available. Email [email protected].

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



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About the Author

David Wylie is publisher of the oz. — a cannabis newsletter that covers the growing legal weed industry from the Okanagan Valley.

He has been a journalist for nearly two decades, working in newsrooms all over Canada.  

David is active as okanaganz on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. Subscribe to the email newsletter at okanaganz.com.

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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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