Lisa Campbell, CEO of Lifford Cannabis Solutions, foresees another possible drawback. “Some producers are attempting to make this claim, although products still have residual THC,” Campbell says. While it is possible to extract 99 percent CBD isolate, she says that hemp-based CBD can still contain minuscule amounts of THC.
Stashie, an eco-conscious cannabis label company, has the antidote to bland Canadian cannabis packaging. Made in Canada, Stashie creates designer labels for consumers to stylishly label their stash in just about any vessel – without adding any more plastic to the landfill.
After using tape, sticky notes and hard-to-remove shipping labels to keep track of her own stash, Founder and CEO Michelle Cliffe searched for cannabis-specific labels on which she could write strain, profiles and personal notes. She found nothing on the global market, and the idea for Stashie crystallized on a vacation in Jamaica.
“People who use cannabis have rituals around its use and storage. I saw evidence of these rituals everywhere – from the beach in Jamaica to the folks at the dispensary at home,” said Cliffe. “I saw an opportunity.”
Cliffe has an eclectic background in lifestyle PR and social changemaking, and she’s concerned as much with good design as the social and environmental impact of her products. From materials and shipping to her supply chain, the end user and the planet all factor into the decision-making process. Her attention to these details hasn’t gone unnoticed, and the brand was recently nominated for an O’Cannabiz industry award in the Green Deed(s) category.
Cliffe also factored values into who she chose as her sales and distribution partner, signing a multi-year deal with Lifford Cannabis Solutions. Lisa Campbell, Lifford Cannabis’ CEO, is an industry leader and unwavering champion for women and diversity in the industry who’s been supportive of Stashie since its inception, encouraging Cliffe every step of the way.
“Lifford Cannabis Solutions is incredibly excited to be adding Stashie to our portfolio of premium brands. While cannabis packaging is extremely limited, Stashie offers consumers an environmentally-friendly, fashionable option to carefully curate their stash,” said Lisa Campbell, CEO.
WHILE SUPPLIES LAST
Cannabis supply seems to be an ongoing issue for retailers in other provinces, so what can we expect in Ontario once all 25 stores are up and running?
We asked Toronto cannabis expert Lisa Campbell, founder-CEO of the year-old Lifford Cannabis Solutions which provides sales and marketing to licensed cannabis producers to get their product to retail across Canada, to explain why there has been supply issues:
“There’s a huge bottleneck in terms of the supply chain in certain areas,” said Campbell. “For example, Health Canada has said that licensed producers do have inventories of cannabis even though it’s not getting onto the shelves. A lot of licensed producers weren’t anticipating the demand of recreational so they don’t necessarily have automated packaging yet.”
“Certain licensed producers are still waiting on their processing licence to be able to have more space for packaging, so that has been an issue,” she said. “Also, licensed producers can’t ship directly to retailers, so it has to go to the government warehouse first and then the orders have to be prepared to go out to stores.”
“Because this is just the first few months of legalization, they’re still ironing out the kinks before things can fully flesh out. We’ve seen in other markets similar problems. It’s not unique to Canada.”
One person who has no shame about growing at her Toronto home since 2013 is Lisa Campbell, whose medical marijuana licence allowed her to grow up to ten plants for her own use or buy from the government.
“The healthier options for patients at the time was to grow your own,” said Campbell.
“I was able to bring some of those plants outdoors post legalization and those are the plants that I harvested (last October). They were ten feet tall, so I was able to cure them all and share them with my friends. I was able to do a huge harvest with my friends. We were stripping the plants. We were trimming them.”
“You can transform that product into whatever you want,” she said. “So you could dry the buds. You could juice the leaves. I had one friend who created cannabis cream out of the roots. So we used also every single part of the plant.”
Campbell, as you may have guessed, isn’t your typical home grower.
She’s also the founder-CEO of the year-old Lifford Cannabis Solutions — a subsidiary of her family-owned Lifford Wine & Spirits — which provides sales and marketing to licensed cannabis producers across Canada.
“It definitely is a challenge (to grow it at home),” says Campbell. “It requires a lot of information. There’s a lot of really great books and resources online where people can learn about growing your own and a lot of videos on YouTube.”
“Because Canada has had a medical marijuana program since 2001, some of the top growers in the world have come out of that program and they really are experts and they’ve shared so much of their knowledge online,” she added.
Campbell fully expects that come April — also known as cannabis month for the pot community — there will be an increase in trying to grow recreational weed at home alongside the emergence of bricks and mortar retail stores.
“I know in the most recent product calls (by the OCS), they included grow tents, grow lights, seeds, etc.,” she said. “I do think that come April when it’s ‘4/20 season,’ you will be able to purchase the things that you need from the government to start your garden.”
Trading booze for cannabis
Vancouver-based Aaron Anderson was also looking for a recharge when he switched over to cannabis. The sales manager for Parallel 49 Brewing was working yet another beer festival when he ran into an old friend. Anderson and his wife had a one-year-old at home and he told his friend that the mix of alcohol and parenting an infant was starting to take a toll on his body.
“He told me he was working for Agrima Botanicals, a medically focused LP, and said I should come and check out what he was up to, so I followed up a couple of days later,” says Anderson.
Aaron Anderson made the career switch from craft beer to cannabis to be on the frontlines of an emerging industry.
A long-time recreational user in a “cannabis-friendly family,” Anderson was passionate about the legalization of cannabis and wanted to be on the frontlines of the industry at the fall of prohibition to help remove the taboos around the plant. He signed on in a sales position at Ascent Industries, taking a pay cut initially. But in less than a year he was promoted to national director of sales operations, where his salary and benefits exceeded any he could expect in craft beer.
As far as knowledge, the learning curve was steeper than Anderson anticipated.
“I assumed my skills and contacts would be immediately transferable, but I quickly learned that it’s absolutely a machine of its own,” he says.
While the paperwork and provincial liquor regimes were similar to that of beer, the people were all new hires, so he didn’t have any turnkey relationships. Still, he was thrilled “to break bread with government bodies” at the end of prohibition.
Plus, he’s applying his understanding of the craft beer consumer — who's thirstier for new releases and flavours than for one or two flagship beers — to the cannabis connoisseur. Anderson now works for Lifford Cannabis Solutions, which assists licensed cannabis companies in getting their products to market.
As for his alcohol consumption? “I’ve been drunk maybe three times this year, when it used to be that many times a week,” says Anderson. “I don’t even think about alcohol anymore.”
Lisa Campbell, CEO of Lifford Cannabis Solutions, which markets LP cannabis, agrees with these criteria, emphasizing the need for testers to try products first-hand. Ash colour in smoked cannabis is a good indicator of quality, Campbell notes. “Ash should never be dark. White or very pale gray ash indicates thorough flushing,” she explains.
Of all the trends poised and ready to hit the mainstream, cannabis-infused edibles and drinks are at the forefront. While the legalization of marijuana in October excluded edibles, that is expected to change next fall – and plenty of industry professionals have been recipe-testing and fine-tuning potential products to be ready. Edmonton’s Token Bitters currently offers a lineup of cocktail bitters that is popular with local bartenders, but its main focus these days is testing oils and capsule products for the impending cannabis-edibles market.
“We started our company with the idea of [eventually offering] drinkable cannabis products. We did a lot of market research and believe a lot in the idea,” says Token’s co-owner Cameron O’Neil. “There are still a lot of questions in regards to what will be allowed to be used in edibles and drinks, so it will be interesting to see what happens in the fall.”
His co-founder, Keenan Pascal, says they have been approached by all types of people, from chefs wanting to open a cannabis-infused bakery to doughnut companies and even dairy producers looking to work on a line of cannabis butter.
The two agree it will still be quite some time before restaurants and bars will able to serve cannabis-infused food and drink and when they are, they’ll likely be completely separate establishments from the standard. In other words, you’ll have to go to one bar to sip your gin martini and another for that Dark and Stormy spiked with a marijuana tincture.
At the dawn of legal marijuana, Lisa Campbell is determined to make women a key part of the business.
“The cannabis industry is predominately run by white men,” says Ms. Campbell, who is so passionate about her mission, she rhymes off related statistics without missing a beat. Women, she says, occupy just 5 per cent of publicly traded licensed cannabis producers’ boards, compared with 12 per cent of other companies on the TSX.
As chief executive of Lifford Cannabis Solutions, a nine-month old subsidiary of her family’s wine and spirits agency of the same name, which essentially functions as a distributor, she is one of few female leaders in the emerging space. In her role, Ms. Campbell helps companies navigate the cannabis industry and guides their products to shelves across the country within the legal market.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Filled with parties and dinners and quiet moments at home. All of these call for special wines and we’ve rounded up our top 12 of the year for our annual 12 HOLIDAY WINES feature.
This is not an easy thing to select! We are looking to capture the spirit of the year, the products that moved us that we are most excited to share. Sparkling, crisp and complex whites, a rose to raise your eyebrows, fresh reds (perfect served chilled with a turkey sandwich) and powerful reds to stop you in your tracks – it’s all here. We lovingly stand behind each of these wines, hand-crafted by a winery we’ve visited and care deeply about.
Less talk and more wines! Let the list begin. It's not too late to order your holiday wines delivered to your door before NYE. Also check out some incredible cocktails and mocktails to make your holidayz truely lit brought to you by The Cannabis Sommelier!