Daikoku Discovers: OPP | Other People’s Pot

Mimi Mentions: Usually, the Daikoku Discover series focuses on Licensed Producers. After all, sales agencies usually have more impact on retailers than on the person who comes to shop at the store. However, it’s impossible for me to not grasp the opportunity to learn more about OPP: while they’re based in Ontario, the first brands these ladies brought on board were Edmonton’s own Poolboy, Dynathrive and Sun Shower – even if Ontario got the soft chews before we did. I was curious to learn more about what drove them, and couldn’t resist the opportunity to interview Alison Gordon.

I am super stoked, because I get to talk to Alison Gordon, whom I’ve been fangirling on since… before legalization, before the store opened. I absolutely love seeing women in weed, and Alison has been one of those OG women.

So could you tell us more about yourself? And a tiny bit about OPP, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

Sure! Thank you for having me. So I’m a long time weed user. Just recreationally love it, always have. Never been a drinker. I just love weed, love everything about it.  And I never thought about it as a career, to be honest with you. Back in 2008, I won’t go through the whole thing but I had a close family member who was older, never used cannabis before. But had stage 4 ovarian cancer and her doctor recommended she try medical cannabis. And I was like, woah! Sorry, Canada has a medical cannabis program? In 2008, I had no idea. And I was like, I’m in! I’m getting involved! I wanna work in this industry!  I’m gonna open stores! They’re going to be beautiful! I had no idea. I was so naive.

(Mimi laughs in sympathy)

So, at the time, I was still running with MJ Decoteau Rethink Breast Cancer and I loved what we were doing there, and the work with young women with breast cancer, so it was just in the back of my mind, this industry. And in 2013, I was like “You know what? Let’s go for it.” Rethink was doing just fine without me, I can go onto the board. And I wound up getting into the legal weed industry. Back then I was working with Weed MD who didn’t have a license, nothing. Just a facility waiting. There was no brand, no nothing. And we were delayed in licensing, and we wound up actually going and purchasing some US assets, so I got to work  in the US, which was awesome. We owned one of four legally permitted dispensaries in Los Angeles so it was just a trip to be part of everything down there because California wasn’t even legal at the time.

Ultimately I came back to Canada and I did consulting work for a company called Delshen (Audio breaks up for a few seconds here) that had a facility built in northern Ontario, no license, and really running out of cash. I wound up taking over the company and changing the name to 48North. And then, starting from scratch! Building up the 48North team. So yeah, the last few years was building the 48North Brand, taking it public, acquiring other businesses, figuring out how to grow  indoor/outdoor, extraction, all of these things. And then, ultimately, since the beginning of Covid, well, we started Other People’s Pot, which I know we’re going to talk about.

Right? Cause the first thing that I think about when I see OPP, is a deep, ingrained desire to rap. (A: “You’re not the only one!”) And I think you’re based in Ontario? (A: “We are.”) which absolutely slays me. (A: “Hehe, yes.”) I absolutely adore everything about the name (A: “Thank you.”) So tell us why? Why OPP, and what it actually means!

OK, so OPP stands for Other People’s Pot, and in essence, in the most simplest terms we’re a boutique sales agency. So I’m sure you see the sales agents coming into your store all the time, and we saw this ourselves – that would be myself, Amy Weinstein and Jessica McCann– and we were watching all this and Amy and Jess were still at 48North. And I was like… I’m not done with this yet. Like, I’m really not. Maybe I don’t want to run a big public LP (Licensed Producer), but I still felt that everything for cannabis was trying to be like alcohol and tobacco, and I just… and Amy and Jess agree, we all agree, (Mimi laughs) and it’s not! 

And so watching these sales agencies come from alcohol and tobacco and doing their thing at retail, we were like… no. You know what? There’s room for a boutique agency that we will only work with brands and products that we would use ourselves, that we believe in, and that we can really be creative about how we do it! So it’s not just, you know, dropping off papers and going like “Hey everybody!” But how can we provide value for the retailers? Value for the budtenders? And then, you know, sell our products. 

Well, actually, and this is a little bit off topic, but one of the biggest things you have been doing at OPP are the education sesh for budtenders. And this is some pretty high level stuff, at least the one I attended was about CBD (A:”Yeah! Wasn’t that awesome?”) and I took away so much from that! And you know, I immediately sent that message to the team, and as soon as I had the link, because after the sessions we have access to that link [for the recording]…

Yeah, yeah, for sure. Because… So for us, there’s lots of stuff we need to do for our clients, cause we have amazing clients like Sunshower [soft chews], the Dynathrive (the CBD [soft chews]). Like I said, If we keep going to people saying “Buy our products! Stock our products! Stock our products!” (Shakes head) We need to create value for them as well. So how do we have interesting online sessions that aren’t just about going through the clients’ products? And we thought CBD was a really big one, cause you know it’s huge in the US and here people carry non legal CBD products all over the city. But we know that you should be buying your CBD products from a legal dispensary, ultimately we hope that the government will allow CBD products to be sold in Shoppers Drugmart, but for now… So we know that one of the challenges for budtenders is “How do you talk about things when you’re not allowed to say things like “Oh, it helps for stress”. So we thought it was important to talk about why it’s important to know where your product comes from, and the legal market provides that. That’s why they’re called the “OPP’s How to Sell Other People’s Pot, the Series” (Mimi: “I love it.)

So of course, and you’ve mentioned this before, you come from 48 North, a larger LP. And now you’re at a HIGH end cannabis boutique agency.

Oh my god, it’s completely different. (Both laugh)

Running an LP, it’s a manufacturing business, period. The End. Right?

And when you run a startup LP, that’s a whole other world. Where you’re focused on working with the bankers, investors, roadshows. Just everything that has to do with that. But in terms of putting that aside, just being an LP everything is about manufacturing. And that’s a whole other world than an Agency, right? 

So we’re really about, I mean everything is about people. To me, your team is the most critical. In the sales agency it truly is. Bringing together incredible people who can resonate with retailers and budtenders to love the product, and authentically sell it. It’s complicated, but it’s completely different in that you’re not running massive facilities with … (Mimi *Rudely* cuts in and states it’s less overhead). Yes! In simpler terms it’s a lot less capital intensive. For. Sure. That is for sure.

And for me, it’s the most fun part. Because now that I’m doing both and I’m like… oh this is the part I always liked. Which is connecting with people, selling, being excited, talking, doing creative things. This is the most fun.

And you’ve talked about a couple of soft chews – cause in Alberta, we’re not allowed to call them gummies we actually have to call them “soft chews” – but there’s something that’s based in Edmonton (A: YES!) and I’m super stoked about them! So please tell us more about it.

It is THE facility to see – cause it’s incredible to see a facility just dedicated to “soft chews” (laughs, ie: gummies) at such a large scale. So that was just really exciting for us to be able to work with a company like Dynaleo who has the scale. We know we can create the demand, because we’re only going to take on great products and we want to get out there and make sure that everyone knows about them.

But there aren’t that many licensed producers who can come and, on the back end, actually supply. And so they’ve launched with two brands:  The Sunshower, which is the THC gummies, and the Dynathrive which is the large 30-pack of  apple cider CBD gummies. (Mimi mentions: they taste like sour green apple gummies!)

They’re all really really yummy, I swear they’re the best on the market. And nobody else is doing that large format, “daily dose” of CBD.

I won’t deny that was one of the biggest surprises in cannabis 2.0: that so many people kept the THC limits… for CBD products.

Do you have any cannabis routines?

Yes! I have lots. I mean, I am a joint smoker – which I know you were going to ask me – but that is my routine. It really is, just, that’s what I prefer. That’s what I do most of the time. I’m not someone who can do that at the during the day and then be productive and just work. I like to hang out. (laughs). So usually, once the day is done, once the work is done, then either pre-roll. Something. Anything.

(Laughs.)

I’m actually like the shoemaker’s daughter because my boyfriend is always pre-roll prepared. So it’s, like, funny to be living  in the world I am living in, and then it’s like… whatever he hands me. Although I have a ton of pre-rolls that I just bought at a couple of different dispensaries cause I do like to try everything.

Bonus clip! An interviewee asks Mimi a question!

I mean it’s the only way you can really assess what’s on the market.

A: What’s your favourite? What are you loving right now?

You know, I’m a sucker for the vaporizer? The dry flower vaporizer. (A: Oh, you love that.) Uhm, it’s how I started with weed. The MFLB (Magic-Flight Launch Box) for those of people who are OG on the vaporizer scene (ahahaha). (A: Right, right.)

And a dispensary owner, I feel that I put a lot of onus on myself to make sure that if I list out terpenes I can actually recognize them. (A: Right, huh.) And I find that smoking doesn’t give terpenes and aromas their full justice. (A: Oh wow, ok!) Whereas a dry flower vape, does give me…. especially if it’s clean… (A: Right, yeah) 

But on that note, legal weed or regulated cannabis, is actually great for vaporizer consumers because the weed is just perfectly dry for it. Which is an awful thing to say. (A: Yeah, that’s true)

Yes, they will get… And it is definitely still early days, it really, really is. And you’ll find, when the supply chain speeds up too, then it won’t be as dry. That’s my hope, anyways.

And we’re starting to see some brands come to market with squishy bud, and that’s always super ecstatic, super exciting. On the other hand, people like Poolboy are bringing to (the Alberta) market absolutely wonderful cultivars that we haven’t seen yet. They brought the first Banner to market, you have King Tut.

These are people we are so excited to be working with. They’ve got some… You know, what’s the thing! So when we only want to work with the best.  It’s not the best, BEST weed, I’m not saying theirs or anybody’s. I’m saying that for us we will only work with the best, BEST weed. It’s that the “best” can mean a lot of things. That it’s good weed, at the right price. That’s the thing.

I’m so excited for consumers to get more educated as y= said what there is about the terpenes, and about other factors than about THC and CBD. Because they’re really just not the only thing you should be looking at. So to me, Poolboy is incredible because the price, for what it is –and it is good. It is really good weed.

Well, yeah, I’m excited for consumers to understand, as we said what there is about the plant more than just THC and CBD, and then hopefully that can all play into pricing. But we are seeing some value brands, premium brands, mid-range brands – so there’s something for everybody.

So my last question, and possibly my most controversial question: Sativa/Indica discussion. What’s your take on the industry’s hottest debate.

I didn’t realize the industry was a debate…

(Mimi mentions: it’s at this juncture that I realize that my question is poorly phrased. Full confession: I’m actually SUPER nervous during these interviews cause I’m talking to brilliant entrepreneurs, and Alison had a slew of technical issues during the call. Notwithstanding, she was grace under pressure, taught me a BUNCH to avoid future technical issues, and all I can say is that my admiration grew by leaps and bounds during the chat.) 

People absolutely… You have one side of people who absolutely hate the fact that stores and people divide cannabis into indica and sativa, and other people feel that Indica/Sativa still has its place in the industry.

That’s really the key thing: is that it is a plant, and how we use that (audio breaks up)… different effects. Sop, those plants do have a kind of different effect on me. But I do understand why people are frustrated by it, because theoretically you could list by terpenes, you could list by all sorts of things in the same way I’m frustrated with people who come in wanting the highest THC for the lowest price, when they might actually have great experience [with a lower THC product].

Daikoku Discovers: Chat with Travis from Stigma

StigmaGrow

Breaking down cannabis stigma was a huge reason behind Daikoku. So obviously, Stigma Grow caught my attention with their name. Then they won my heart with fantastic products. Best part? They’re a family-owned, Alberta grown craft cultivator. 

Mimi Mentions: Dude, I am loud. So these audio clips have been edited so that the volume is pretty equalized throughout the clip (read: I lowered my own volume by 20 decibels or so). That being said, I’m new at audio stuff so it might sound a bit off. Thanks for understanding!

Hello Travis! Tell me about what you do at Stigma… and what is Stigma [Grow]!

So I am the founder,  and president of Stigma Grow. We’re also a publicly-traded company under Cannadabis Canada. That’s a pubco that houses several of our arms or our initiatives that we’ve  taken in the past three or four years now. Our main business is Stigma Grow. Yeah, that’s what we want to talk about today and get some education and some information on our hands!

Absolutely! And that’s one of the things that, as an Edmonton retailer, is really cool: you guys are grown in Alberta. So can you tell me what it’s like growing weed in Alberta?

Haha! Well. It’s a lot different than making oil in Alberta, I guess (Mimi laughs). Like we’re all used to! We really had to play catch up, here in Alberta because whenfelt that we started this venture 5 years ago, Alberta was a main hub for cannabis activities but it wasn’t really produced here. We wanted to change that going forward, and I think we placed ourselves really well in doing so. Not so much in the growing, but in the concentrate space.

Well yeah, and that’s kind of why I laughed when you said it was different than oil. Because you guys are very unique! Let’s start with your concentrates, cause that’s what you talked about. And one of your concentrates, one of my favourite concentrates that you produce, is your SHATTER. Because your shatter is the first shatter that I have seen in [the regulated market in] Alberta that is actually produced as a sheet. Now the thing about your shatter is that it doesn’t list terpenes. Why is that?

We’ve gone over our representations of our concentrates, and we really focus on terpenes in the other forms – in our live resin, in our badders. We really try to preserve them in those formats. When you get into shatter, and when you produce it in a sheet, you don’t get to save any of those tasty terpenes. You can save a lot of them, but not all of them. So we focused on saving the terpenes in our other products because we could and we can. You’ve probably noticed that our badders are maybe not as dry as other people’s badders are (M: No, there’s nice terp juice that’s nice and golden.) It is! And that’s where we really like that terpene flavour in a lot of our badders and our caviars going forward. And our shatter, we really wanted it to be a truly shelf-stable, tasty as it possibly can, you know call it “legacy market shatter” – you know? We produce it to the original… we produce it in the original…. the same fashion that everyone’s been doing it, upcoming 10 years, and we just brought it to market, as it should be. Priced accordingly, as it should be. And I think that’s our claim to fame on the Dab bods shatter: it really is a true representation of what should be in the market today.

“Terpenes do not survive the purification process involved in producing that glasslike BHO shatter consistency. If you find a shatter with high terpenes, they were likely added back in post-production.” 

Chad Hason, Stigma Grow

Which leads me to the Dab Bods question. Stigma hasn’t always been sold… Rather I should say: Products that are transformed by Stigma haven’t always been sold under “Stigma”. And now we’re seeing Dab Bods come into the market. And I always have to be careful when I say “Dab bods” to make sure I don’t accidentally say “Dad bods” because every single time I see the name, that’s what I think. And you actually have a reason for doing it that way.

We do! We wanted to develop a brand that was approachable. Something that was unique to what we developped at the price point and the product represented really well. Everyone ask Dad what he’s doing, and he’ll tell you. And that’s what our marketing team came up with and it really resonated with customers. With a quality you could trust, and trust long term, without having that price point in there. You’re still guessing “Should I buy it from the illicit market? Or should I be buying from the legal market?” And we’ve taken that guesswork out of it with an approachable brand. And we look forward to expanding that brand and doing so much more with it. So look forward to seeing more from it!

“They’re both unassumingly strong and reliable. They both appreciate a good deal and believe that high-quality doesn’t have to be flashy. And when it comes to trying or learning about something new – who better to hear about it from than your dad? And in both cases, being a little overweight is a good thing!”

Chad Hason, Stigma Grow

That is so cool. And going back to how you create your concentrates. Something that Stigma does, that I haven’t seen anyone else do, is you choose to extract using Butane. So can you tell us a little bit more about your BHO and your process, and why you chose butane as opposed to the more, I guess pervasive CO2 extraction?

We’ve chosen Hydrocarbon extraction process simply for the fact that we’re able to preserve a lot of the other cannabinoids in our products. We really, when we go into the live resin category, that’s the only true way of doing it. (You can process live resin in other ways.) We keep a lot of the terpene profiles intact, we keep a lot of the cannabinoids that as much as we possibly can. When we produce it in our live resin vape carts, we’re not mixing or changing any of the format, or using MCT oil or any other carriers. We’re producing a true live resin product in a vape cart style that has no additives, no cutting agents. And we’re able to do that through our butane system. Well, butane/propane mix. All the other systems we’ve tried, we weren’t able to get that level of quality that we strive towards, that we wanted. So we felt this was the best direction to go. 

So we’ve done a lot of extensive testing, products, units, extraction methodology. And we’ve spent quite a few years doing that! And we’ve come up with a product that we feel really what was being consumed currently in the legacy market. We just wanted to transfer that over to the legal market and make happy customers! We don’t want to have to try to get everyone trying something new every five minutes. If there are people happy with what they’ve got, and we can bring it to them at a reasonable price that’s all we’re looking to do. This market exists today, you know? It’s not something that’s new. We just need to make sure that customers are educated on the products that are on the legal market and we’re making products that they want to see. That’s what we’re all about. It’s not up to me, and what I want to consume. It’s about what the consumer wants to have in their pockets.

“It provides some of the purest and most potent products, and provides us with an amazing playground in which to flex our creative muscles.”

Stigma Grow, Chad Hason

And just to clarify for everybody who may not be aware of BHO processes, even though butane is used, the final product is completely free of all hydrocarbons, correct?

*We laugh ruefully* Yes, it is.

(I know it’s a silly question! But it’s one of those things that we do need to get ahead of.)

No! It’s a great question. It’s something that Health Canada has regulated. We have our own internal regulations far supersede anything Health Canada has set out there for residuals limits. We produce a safe product. At the end of the day, we make sure my family would consume it, I would consume it, um. You know anybody that I know, friends and close personal friends. We push the product. That’s something that we’ve always been concerned about, the health and safety the consumer and the people around us. Our Quality control team is one of the best in the world and we feel very strongly about that. So when we see residual solvents of 5000 PPM allowed in Health Canada regulations, we kind of giggle and laugh cause you know, maybe that’s a little high. We strive to be below 100 PPM.  (That’s amazing. So PPM being Parts per Million?) Parts per Million, yes. And we succeed at that! It’s not an unachievable goal.

And let’s be honest, that’s why your shatter looks the way it does.

That is the why! It’s a good quality product, yes, it really is. And it’s the reason why we weren’t first to market on the shatter. We made sure we had everything figured out for commercial products. It’s not always just as easy as saying “We’ll just make that in quantities of ten.”  When you’re doing it in small batches, it’s quite easy to control. When you’re doing it on a commercial scale, you really have to step up the game all around to make sure that the safety of that product is there. 

For sure. And one big thing – I mean, it’s literally your name – what you’re trying to do is crush the stigma around cannabis. Why is that so important for you?

It’s, you know, it’s very important in Alberta, we feel, as an Alberta producer and a born and raised Albertan. We found, and we always see negativities around cannabis use. You know, long-time oil patch people here, you know, we really see the negativity or the stigma around cannabis use. When we started down this venture, we found so many opportunities and so many great people that we just want to make sure that that gets out and the stigma around cannabis goes away. We want to crush that stigma. And that’s where we thought that was the most unique name for our company to be able to try and do that. It worked out kind of well – it’s very unique – but we do feel strongly that, I think that Albertans are changing. I think the views on cannabis use in Alberta is changing. You’re not having to hide in the closet any more, hide from friends and family at a party to have a puff off a joint.  (I mean, you say that, but I still feel kind of ‘illegal’ whenever I’m walking down a street smoking.) I think most people do, right? We definitely focused on some of the more discreet products. We didn’t, we’re not just a cultivator. We decided to have more discretion with some of the products. Ie. the vapes, the shatters, the caviars and live resins that you can use into a vape pen or vaporizer of your choice. And it has that illusion of being a discreet product. You’re still smoking, you’re still getting the same high, still the same quality. But you can step outside, have a puff off your vape pen and get some sleep at night. Or instead of consuming alcohol, you take a puff off your vape pen or your vaporizer and go and have a good, enjoyable night with the family or friends. 

I absolutely agree. But the first product I encountered were the Craft Cannons, and the Craft Cannons Plus, and I really miss those. Just saying! Just putting that out there.

They’re coming back with a vengeance! (Since the Interview, Stigma has released their Craft Candles product!)

YES! That is AMAZING news! I didn’t think we’d get that!

They’re coming back with the same potency levels, coming in 8 packs. So look forward to seeing those in the near future.”

(whispering but forgetting she has a mic on): “omg yes!” (louder) I may or may not be more of a flower than a cart girl. That being said, you mention you grow and produce and you produce things that you would like to consume. Which brings me to of course the question of “What’s your favourite product that you guys make?

Our…. that’s a real good mix between our live res vape pen in our Zweet Inzanity (Mimi: ?) and our caviar. Our caviar is probably my favourite.

That being said, we have some Tranquil Elephantizer flower that’s coming to market *Mimi’s sharp intake of breath* that will be in our pre-rolls that will be to die for. *Mimi gasps* It’s just been a long time bringing the plant to where we want it to be, to have it on a commercial scale but it is unbelievable. *Mimi forgets she has a mic on, whispering “omg”* It’s an amazing indica. 

So that’s my top three, for sure.

And that segues really well to my last question for you. Cause you called the [Tranquil Elephantizer ← …that’s not what I say in the audio clip] – what’s your stance on calling a flower ‘Sativa’ or calling a flower ‘Indica’, whole… debate?

Ummmm. That’s a tricky one.

I know. I try.

I have several opinions on that, I guess, depending on who’s growing it and how it’s been growing. I know a lot of sativas that are grown to age, or to full age, can act like an indica. When… and vice versa, you can have an indica act like a sativa if you’re harvesting early or if you’re growing it in different fashions. So, we really play on the trichome colouration, and really watch the milky trichome. We try and harvest… all of our live resins get harvested when they’re clear, all our flower gets harvested with about 20% amber and the rest being between a 50/50 of full milk. That’s kind of where our growing style lies. But we’ve played all the way harvesting flower at full clear trichomes and all the way to full amber and.. Seen the different effects all the way through. So that’s a really touchy one. I would say that if you want a good indica feel you know, you’re looking for a little bit, possibly in your vape pens or that, you want it a little more on the amber side of things, where if you’re looking at no colour remediation in the live res and a little more Sativa feel, you’ll want something that’s a little more clear.  Not always is that the case…

It’s a good rule of thumb! A little bit like how indica and sativa can be a rule of thumb effectively.

Yeah, yeah, Exactly. 100%.

Daikoku Discovers: Chat with Tyler from GOOD BUDS

I am super psyched, super stoked to be able to talk to Tyler, CEO and co-founder at GOODBUDS. I’ve been fangirling on GOODBUDS since we got our first batch of Mango Taffie. For the first time, I was able to open a cannabis jar on the regulated market… And it was fresh! I was won over then and there. I didn’t know it yet, but it was only just the beginning.

“Small-Batch Cannabis, Hash and Rosin,  Organically Grown on Salt Spring Island, BC”

How GOODBUDS describes themselves on their website

Over time, I learned more about GOODBUDS. I found out they hang dry their weed. They use living soil. They have some of the most interesting cultivars on market. One reason for that is that the team, including Master Grower Mikael Rykes (whose name I mispronounced, and beg for forgiveness) choose the cultivars based on terps… and so much more. When GOODBUDS reached out to ask me questions (you can read their blog post here), I asked if I could ask some to Tyler to learn more about this awesome, award-winning, family-owned Licensed Producer in British Columbia. (And because we know you were wondering: yes, their logo is an eye.)

It takes less than 10 minutes to listen to the whole interview. But each nugget is dense with info, so we split the questions up for you and transcribed it all for ease of understanding.

1. Why did you choose to hang dry your weed?

That’s a great question, actually. It ties right back to a big thing you brought up which is freshness. The hang dry, we find, really is key for getting that fresh out of the jar cure. The kind that you’re used to when you’re crafting really premium bud. We find that hang dry contributes to the flavour, contributes to the burn, it contributes to the smoking flavour, and it even contributes to the shape or the appearance of the bud. So for all those reasons, we’re really passionate about the hang dry.

2. Why are you so careful about the soil you use? 

There’s definitely the old adage “You are what you eat.” and it’s true for cannabis plants too. They definitely show different traits or characteristics – or sometimes I even just call it better personality based on what you feed them or what they’re eating. Maybe not a different personality but a different aspect of their personality.

We see that in multiple cultivations, both outdoors and indoors, in our living soils. Sometimes the biosphere will actually contribute to the uniqueness of the terp profile, or the bud characteristics. So that’s something  we keep evolving and improving to let our soil give back to the buds, and really take them to the next level.

3. How do you pick what you’re going to grow? What’s your process?

Just like you said, we don’t just… we do get tests done in the lab. But we start with our senses. We start with, just like you: with our nose, with our mouth when we get to sample or like you, smoke the product. Additionally, we will do a lot of stem rubs and kind of observations as it’s growing, seeing the different terp profiles, both in flower and then again when it starts to dry and cure, cause those evolve too (at this, I’m nodding vigorously) – yeah, that’s definitely an exciting part of the process. We do it from unique seeds, we’ll just walkthrough huge sample groups and kind of get our noses brown with resin from smelling all the different flowers, you know?

(Now I start laughing and it’s contagious) 

Tyler amongst the plants at GOODBUDS

Yeah, it’s pretty funny, getting all stuck and sticky with a resin patch just from checking so many different plants. But you find that magic one. And sometimes you don’t even expect it! We had one last year that smelled like Mezcal, a nice, like a smokey whiskey smell, a smokey tequila smell. Just some really, really amazing, unique qualities that you’ll get when you get enough different plants express themselves. And then, you know, you just follow your nose.

4. Will there be GOODBUDS seeds? (Besides when we win the lottery and find that ONE seed in our jar!)

*Laughs* You can catch those, and those should definitely pop.

As far as seeds for home cultivators, it’s definitely something we’re working on and trying to stabilize some nice fem stock for outdoor growers. We’re not there yet, but we’re definitely working on the back burner for some action in the future.

5. GOODBUDS already discontinued one of my favourite products, Island Fig. And I’m salty about that, despite having Salty God at hand. So what you tell us about what’s coming?

We’ve got a couple of exciting new flowers that we’ll be releasing to market soon. One of them is the Dosi Melon: and that one is a cross between  Watermelon Zkittlz and Do-Si-Dos. Really, smells like a banana, fruit, melon bowl, you know, in summer, with some orange juice poured on top with some really delicious tropical profile. Nice strong sativa too, like good THC in there, real strong and really strong with the terp profile as well. 

And then, another one we introduced like on a small scale last year, in pre-rolls, called the Gluerangutang (You can hear me exclaim excitedly when he announces this). That one is going to be coming back as a flower.  We’re extremely excited about that strain. That one is a really strong THC, it’s s Harambe back cross that we hand picked out of a huge sample group.  And just crazy terpenes, like really strong terpenes. Strong lemon and just a cleaner smell to it. Yeah, really excited about that strain as well.

6. Ok, so you called [Dosi Melon] as a sativa – so what’s your take on the whole “sativa/indica” [discussion]?

BTW: there’s more laughter than words in this clip

*Laughs*

Let me just claim that I am definitely not a scientist. But! My take on it is, like, that I’ve smoked a Haze and it definitely felt different than when I smoked a Kush. And so I would say, I subscribe to that part of it. I would say that, in that context, that’s what I would say to someone when talking about sativa or indica.

7. How much fun is QA (Quality assurance)? 

Oh that’s a mean question! Well the fun thing is… a lot of times, those things you do, growers will tell you this: all the little things that you do make the difference in the final quality of your products.  You know, it’s hard to say that scrubbing pots if fun, or things like that, like sanitation isn’t always fun. But when you put the elbow grease in, and you do the work, and you reap the rewards. That part of it stays with you, and pushes you and it challenges you to deliver better products and to really push what you’re doing. So that part is fun, and you get to reap the reward, and yeah. That part is fun.

8. Why is it important for you to pay your employees a living wage?

Oh! Yeah. So that one has to do with, I guess, just with our business philosophy at GOOD BUDS. We try to be a very open, very community based organization. Even within our own staff, we have a lot of people who live locally, and work locally. And the thing in there is that we’re a family, and a family company.

Pic of brothers Alex and Tyler Rumi, Co-Founders

So trying to include everyone who works here, in part of that family by looking out for them, and making sure that they are able to look after their family too. That’s kind of, our thinking behind it, that approach. Yeah, we want to keep people at a good livelihood, cause that way they can keep GOOD BUDS in a good livelihood. It’s a nice relationship to have with your people.

Smalls is a series of quick conversations with CEOs and leaders within the Cannabis industry.

About Daikoku: The Cannabis Boutique is on a Potcast

(And no, that’s not a typo.)

My full name, Mireille Tessier, tends to stick out in Edmonton. It also sticks out in the cannabis industry. It’s obviously French – or foreign, if you’re unfamiliar with Canada’s second official language – and not obviously female. Which is why I usually go by the far more pronounceable moniker of “Mimi.”

For the curious, my name rhymes with “Mini Death Ray.”

it’s pronounced [Mee-Ray]

What we talk about

Francophones and females are underrepresented in the legal Canadian world of grass. It’s one of the topics Luc Prévost (the ToPot’s host) and I talk about, in French, during the 44 minute episode.

During the podcast, Luc and I also discuss:

  • Why William decided to open a weed store;
  • How we decided to come to Edmonton;
  • How pot stores are different in Alberta and in Quebec;
  • What Daikoku is (although not where our name comes from!);
  • How we talk about ganja with our growing boy.

One of my favourite interviews

In the past, I’ve had the opportunity to speak about Cannabis in general, and Daikoku specifically, on TV with Ici Radio-Canada in Alberta, during the Ici Alberta’s radio morning “Café Show,” at the C-Tribe Festival, in the Le Journal Franco, during the the Rendez-vous des Affaires and, more recently and regularly, on Radio Cité, Franco-Edmonton’s community radio. When it comes to visibility, we have been spoilt rotten.

But this is the first time in a long time that I was able to take a moment to pause and think about how far we’ve come. Many of you may not know that Daikoku is not, in fact, my first business. But it is the first time I had a business start so backwards.

Before Daikoku was even incorporated, we already had letters of intent for leasing a location, a working relationship with my contractor, store designs, a lawyer and an accountant. We incorporated days before we sent our final application to the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (the AGLC) in April 2018. We got our final cannabis permit exactly one year later.

We moved from Quebec to Alberta in July of 2018, just in time for K-days, knowing only a handful of people, with no promise of a business actually coming to fruition.

Looking back on it during this potcast, it hits me how much of a trip this was. The shakiness in my voice is as much nerves as emotion. It was hard not to cry sometimes – out of sheer relief, maybe?

Hope you enjoy the podcast as much as I do – bonne écoute!

Mimi

Zoomed in: Mimi’s Greenhouse Miniature

I’d been toying with the idea of DIY miniature dollhouses for a couple of years. And, like everything else on the Internet after you click that one link, my social media channels started showing ads for Rolife’s Miniature dollhouses. The Greenhouse miniature is ostensibly the best selling kit, so I figured I’d try my hand at it. 

To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail

Before I actually started glueing anything together, I watched quite a few videos. This video by Cris.Crafts speeds up the process of unboxing and building the kit. However, this video by Kixkillradio Miniatures showed me that when it comes to miniatures, you’re only limited by your imagination. This came in handy when a few “happy accidents” occurred.

I also looked at the Amazon reviews to see what extra items were needed when buying this kit. Glue was the top recommendation.

Here are a few more I learned on the way:

  • An X-acto knife, box cutter or blade. You want this VERY sharp (so be careful and maybe do the cutting of pieces while sober…)
  • Scissors: Fabric scissors, paper scissors and embroidery scissors were all used in the making of my miniatures.
  • A self-healing cutting mat. Unless you want new decorative etchings on your table.
  • Acrylic paint and assortment of brushes. If you want to change up the colour scheme, acrylics tend to be the cheapest method of getting good, opaque coverage.
  • Toothpicks or a needle tool. Because the glue will inevitably bubble over, and a toothpick is a quick way to grab a small gob of it and apply it to small pieces.
  • Origami paper, scrapbooking paper, white card stock and black card stock. I prefer using papers with small motifs or patterns so they don’t look out of scope in the 1:24 scale miniature. Or paint my own (watercolours are very forgiving).

Top tip: I didn’t know this until my fourth kit, but it’s a good idea to scan all the pages of the papers you have to cut.

In case you have a happy accident.  Or several.

ABC, easy as 1, 2,3

I followed the steps in order, building the shelves first, and then the smaller decorative pieces. I only started taking pictures once the decorative pieces were stuck on the floor.

Things I learned with this kit:

  • The transparent glue dries relatively quickly. Add as little glue as you can, hold the pieces together for a count of 10. If the pieces aren’t stuck together by then add a LITTLE BIT more glue. I did not. As a result, I see several places where there’s excess glue (no one else seems to see them, or at least no one says anything).
  • Add your own touches. This is probably the most important. By the time I was done with all the big shelves and decor items, I had a big brown bag that was supposed to read “Flower.” Being the kind of girl I am, I changed it to a Big Bag o’ Weed, which brought me to add several weed references to the miniature.
  • The transparent lid of the greenhouse is the single most evil thing in the kit. Actually, it’s every single transparent acrylic that’s included in the kits as I always get them caked with glue. Anyone have tips for me?
  • Double-check the instructions. Ok, that’s not a fair statement. I didn’t learn that (as future miniatures will show), but as a result of speeding by the instructions I glued everything on the wrong side of the floor. I had to carefully remove all the items, doing my best to avoid bending, breaking and otherwise destroying them. Then I ended up painting the floor. Fun times.

Things I improved after the Greenhouse Miniature kit

  • I became a  lot more confident when painting and customizing the kits. In subsequent kits, I wanted to keep Daikoku’s official colour scheme of white with dark accents, and the occasional bright ray of yellow on a backdrop of greenery. After I did the small customizations on the greenhouse, it was less scary to paint the floor or the walls in my next few kits. 
  • I learned about the differences in sandpaper grit. After this kit, I learned which sandpaper to use to remove paint from the wood, which to use to prep the wood and which to use to smooth out the paint. I’m sure most people know, but just in case I’ll let you in on my secret in the next kit blog post.
  • I picked up polymer clay again. While it’s incredibly impressive and satisfying to use odds and ends, recycled materials, leftover craft pieces and the actual pieces they give you in the kits, you just can’t find bongs and pipes at a 1:24 scale. And trying to make them out of leftover craft items didn’t look quite so pretty as the ones I sculpted. But more on that when we talk about Kit 2: Daikoku’s Coffeeshop.

Under the loupe: Reefer References

Big Bag of Weed on the front left shelf

Daikoku Sticker on Easel as artwork (has a bong and bags of weed)

A marijuana leaf on the floor, under the front shelf

The lady in the painting to the left of the door has a joint in her mouth (which is shoddily drawn in)

The marijuana plant in front of the store

The Devil’s Lettuce sign in the bottom bin

Life at 1:24

You’re going to make mistakes. Your hands will be covered in glue. You’re going to notice all the places you mess up. But you’re the only one who will.

When you’re done, no one wil know what you could’ve done better. The ‘mistakes’ that you fix become what make your miniature kit your own.

You also get an incredible high from people complimenting you, looking for reefer references, and from finishing something you created. Actually, just cutting up the monstera plant and having someone recognize it (those plants were really hard to cut!) for what it is is pretty amazing.

Where you can pick up your supplies

Check out these local businesses to see where you can stock up on supplies:

(Please note that the completed kits at the store are not for for sale.)

Daikoku Local Artist Search

Daikoku Artist Search

We are on a mission to find an Edmonton artist to help design a Daikoku-esque image for our new t-shirts. (This way, we get to combine our love for Edmonton with our love for the arts!) We’ll be letting our following vote for their favourite design. The winning design will receive a $500 award for their creation. The winning design will be used principally on our t-shirts, but might also be featured on other swag!

Sounds like something up your alley? Great! Here’s now you can enter: 

  1. Create a Daikoku Design using our logo and the theme of bubbles/water – you know, that iconic sound of a bubbler. 
  2. Submit your design(s) to questions+design@daikoku.ca – AI, EPS or PDF file formats are preferred – deadline for art submissions is October 4, 2020 at 11.59pm MST 
  3. Designs will then be shared across our social channels for voting. Encourage your friends and family to vote for your design! The art with the most votes will be chosen as the winner – voting period is October 5, 2020 8am MST to October 10, 2020 11:59pm MST. The winning design will be announced October 11th 

Here are some additional details you should note: 

  • Designs must not be appealing to youth; depict a person character or animal, whether real or fictional; or be presented in a way that evokes a positive or negative emotion about or image of, a way of life such as one that includes glamour, recreation, excitement, vitality, risk or daring.
  • You must be 18+ to enter, but this contest is in no way meant to encourage or create glamour around the consumption of cannabis 
  • You must be a resident of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region
  • There is no purchase necessary to enter 
  • The winner will be chosen based on voting counts, viewers will be able to vote once per design. 
  • The winning designer will receive a $500 cash award as payment for the use of their design
  • The winner will be contacted via direct message and email to determine an appropriate method to collect payment

Daikoku Discovers: The dos and don’ts of recycling your cannabis containers

Reuse your containers!

Cannabis packaging has changed quite a bit since the legacy market days. It certainly feels like it’s gotten a lot bulkier! As Licensed Producers (LPs) navigate regulations, packaging varies wildly from one brand to another. That being said, it doesn’t all have to go to the landfill. In simpler times, we were able to offer in-store recycling solutions. These days those recycling programs have been put on hold. As a result, lots of people let us know that their packages seem to be piling up. 

So what can you do with it all?

Depending on the container material, there’s numerous ways to recycle your cannabis packaging. 

Keep on reading for all you need to know on properly recycling your cannabis containers. We even included information on how you can repurpose your containers into items worthy of shelf displaying. 

Recycling: Plastic Jars

One of the most common cannabis containers on shelves these days are plastic jars. These jars come in a range of colours, but are most often white. The good news is, plastic containers are recyclable. Add them to your regular recycling bag; items must be empty, clean, and dry. 

Recycling: Plastic Jars

Re-Use Center: Tin Boxes

Tin containers are exclusive to Canopy products, such as Tweed and LBS. They are not recyclable. However, there are many ways that these containers can be repurposed. Once we hit stage 3 of opening, consider dropping them off at the Edmonton Reuse Centre. In the meantime, try getting creative with your containers. Use them to hold other small items or even turn them into a decorative succulent pot (see below for instructions). 

Re-Use Center: Tin Boxes

Recycling: Glass Jars 

Glass jars are the latest to hit shelves. They are often the jar of choice for organic cultivators such as Simply Bare and Good Buds. Glass is great because it is both recyclable and repurposable. You can add your glass jars to your regular recycling bag; items must be clean, empty, and dry. However, if you’re looking to give your jars new life, try repurposing them into an adorable succulent pot. 

Recycling: Glass Jars

Try Repurposing!

Repurposing your jars doesn’t have to be complicated. Succulents are incredibly durable plants that are the perfect size for your old cannabis containers. Once your plant is potted you’ll only need to water it about once a week or when soil feels dry. 

Repuposing: Glass Jars!

Instructions: 

  1. Add a layer of rock to the base of your container. This will allow for proper drainage and help prevent root rot. 

Tip: Adding a layer of charcoal and moss can help further prevent your plants from being overwatered

  1. Add your soil. Make sure to leave enough room to add your plant. Your soil of choice will change depending on the plant you are potting. Your local garden centre can help you find the right base. 
  1. Remove your plant from the container you purchased it in and gently separate the roots from the soil. 
  1. Once your plant roots are exposed, add it to your repurposed container. Top with additional soil to hold your plant in place. 
  1. Add any decorative items you would like to your container ie. ribbon, gems, stickers, etc. 

Recycling: Aluminum Cans/ Beverage Bottles

Your new cannabis beverages may look similar to your other beverage options, but can they be recycled in the same way? The answer is, yes! Your cannabis beverage bottles and cans can be returned for a refund at your local bottle depot

Recycling: Beverage containers

Recycling: Cardboard Boxes

Yup, you guessed it, your cardboard boxes are definitely recyclable. Just make sure they’ve been flattened, clean, and dry. If you’re into composting some packaging, such as from Kolab and Foray, can be added to your compost bin. 

Recycling: Cardboard
Lots of LPs are phasing out their outer-boxes.

Garbage: Vape Cartridges / Disposable Vapes

Whether it’s PAX, 510, or Luma your vape cartridges and disposable vapes are not recyclable. The complicated technology that makes up a vape cartridge is not easy to reuse; cartridges go in your garbage. Alternatively, your vape batteries and disposable vapes are considered household hazardous waste and should be dropped off at your local eco station

Garbage: Vape Cartridges and Disposable vapes

Want to learn more?

Check out our Instagram post for a quick on-the-go cannabis recycling guide, or download the Edmonton Waste Wise app for in-depth information on recycling. As always, if you’re ever uncertain feel free to ask our Budtenders! They’re always happy to answer any and all cannabis inquiries you may have. 

Organic Cannabis: what does it mean and why does it matter?

Mother Plant Cutting at Boaz

The term “organic” gets thrown around a lot these days. Often the term invokes ideas of purity and health, but what does it really mean

Picture from Simply Bare Organics

Food or farming methods produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents, are “organic.” In order to be able to label your products as such, you must grow and produce them using approved methods, determined by national or local certification councils. In turn, this results in varying qualifications around the world. 

Organic Certification 

In Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regulates any food, seed, or animal feed that is labelled as such. These requirements also apply to cannabis, industrial hemp, cannabis products and by-products, such as regulations for livestock feed and the disposal of unused plant parts. However, the Safe Food for Canadians Act does not apply to edible cannabis products, as they are regulated under the Cannabis Act. The CFIA regulates products in accordance with the Canadian Organic Standards. Under the list of permitted substances, you’ll find materials such as compost tea, worm castings, honey, and more. 

TGOD: Green. Organic. <3
The Green Organic Dutchman is proud of their organic and sustainable practices

Can weed be organic if it isn’t certified? The short answer is yes. So long as the producer uses certified methods to produce their cannabis, we file it as ‟organic.”

Why Does Organic Matter?

Cannabis plants are hyperaccumulators: they absorb the toxins in soil or water. These toxins can include heavy metals, radioactive contaminants, or petroleum products. This process, called phytoremediation, can be beneficial when considering the negative emissions that result from growing industrial hemp. However, when it comes to the cannabis that you inhale and ingest, you want to be certain that your products are free from any harmful residuals. 

Do Licensed Producers in Canada use harsh chemicals to grow cannabis? The list of approved pesticides, fungicides and even fertilizers that can be used to grow ganja in Canada is very limited. All Canadian cannabis is safe to consume. As always, start low and go slow.

Different Ways of Growing Organically 

There is no set method of growing organically. Essentially, if you grow using materials and systems outlined by the CFIA, you are growing organically.

A well-known example of is living soil. Living soil is a method of growing that utilizes living microorganisms in the soil to provide nutrients in the plant. This process creates a symbiotic relationship between the plant and the soil, ultimately giving growing power back to the plant. Growing with living soil can result in a yield with a more robust cannabinoid and terpene profile. Other methods of organic growing exist, for example, hydroponics can be organically grown but it is not as common. 

Living soil is an example of organic growing methods
Click on the image to see the full poster

Who’s Growing Organically

Organic flower provides a higher-level experience when it comes to terpenes and cannabinoids. Knowing you’re buying from an LP that grows organically also provides peace of mind knowing what you’re consuming is free from residual chemicals. To make your decision-making process easier, here’s a list of LPs you can find that fit the bill in Alberta:

If you have any questions about organic cannabis or want to learn more about licensed producers that grow organically in Canada, come and visit us at the shop!. 

Black Lives Matter

Blackout Tuesday

In April 2018, I was walking around YEG (the airport, not the city) when I started an “Unladylike” podcast. It was before William and I had moved to Edmonton. Before we even knew for certain that we would be opening a dispensary. Before I knew what Daikoku would be. (It was my fourth time in Edmonton, and it was on this trip that I found our location.)

The first guest on the podcast was Wanda James. She became a huge inspiration for me. Her own skin colour was darker than that of her friends, but by and large, she lived a life many of us take for granted. Her life changed when she found out her brother (it’s a long story, just listen to the podcast) had been in prison on charges of cannabis possession. He is a male of colour. His sentence was 10 years long.

While this story happened in the United States, Canada is not so different. There is a massive racial disparity in charges being pressed, despite similar cannabis usage rate across ethnicities.

There is injustice. There is inequality. There is anger. There is fear.

Do not forget the anger you feel at the injustice; the fear you feel at the inequality. 

These feelings, which will pass soon enough for most of us, remain with others throughout their lives.

Black lives matter.

If you want to show your solidarity, here are a few resources:

  • Join the Peaceful Protest: follow @yegactivism on Instagram or YegAction on Facebook – remembering to respect social distancing rules;
  • Check out the post by Chew Project that lists organisations and ressources to support BIPOC and LGBTQ+ ressources.