Ottawa Citizen

Trailer Park Buds, Casablanca and more le­gal-weed brands

Mu­sic con­nec­tions, life­style mes­sages used to at­tract le­gal pot pur­chasers

- JACQUIE MILLER

Of­fi­cials at Cana­dian cannabis com­pany The Cronos Group say they are con­fi­dent the name they have cho­sen for one of their pot brands will not ap­peal to chil­dren. It’s called Spinach.

The brand is for “fun-lov­ing ma­ture adults who are sick of hear­ing about kale,” says the cheeky ex­pla­na­tion from the com­pany that op­er­ates grow­ing fa­cil­i­ties in On­tario and B.C.

Spinach is one of the more fan­ci­ful names of brands cre­ated by Cana­dian com­pa­nies whose prod­ucts go on sale to­day as Canada le­gal­izes recre­ational pot.

A catchy name is key for com­pa­nies build­ing brands from scratch in a new in­dus­try that is heav­ily reg­u­lated. Com­pa­nies are banned from most ad­ver­tis­ing be­cause the fed­eral govern­ment wants to squelch the pro­mo­tion of pot.

When cus­tomers stroll into pot stores or shop on­line they will be con­fronted with dozens of prod­ucts sold in plain­ish pack­ages dom­i­nated by health warn­ings. Cannabis com­pa­nies can choose a sin­gle colour for their pack­ages and add a small brand logo.

Will shop­pers re­mem­ber the name Spinach, and come back for an­other serv­ing?

Or how about “Satur­day,” a word that con­jures any­thing from a night on the town to shop­ping at Cana­dian Tire? The com­pany be­hind that brand, Starseed Hold­ings, says Satur­day is about “mak­ing time for your­self” and bring­ing “those brief mo­ments of free­dom to any day of the week.” One of the strains is called Satur­day Af­ter­noon, not to be con­fused with an­other strain of­fered by pro­ducer Aphria, called “Sun­day Spe­cial.”

Some brand names sug­gest gen­tle fun — Good­fields, Good Sup­ply. Oth­ers are edgier. In­vic­tus MD Strate­gies Corp. of­fers “Sin­is­ter,” while GTEC Hold­ings Ltd. plans to un­leash “BLK MKT” (“an homage to the legacy of cannabis pro­hi­bi­tion”). Both prom­ise high THC, the chem­i­cal that makes users high.

Feel­ing pa­tri­otic? Canaca from High Park Hold­ings is for “Cana­dian cannabis en­thu­si­asts.” The com­pany’s Dubon, a “vi­brantly Québé­cois” brand, will be sold in that prov­ince, and the “wild and free” Yukon Rove is re­served for tok­ers in that ter­ri­tory.

Brands in­flu­ence vir­tu­ally ev­ery­thing we buy, and cannabis will be no dif­fer­ent, says Brad Rogers, pres­i­dent of On­tario grower Can­nTrust Hold­ings Inc.

“This is def­i­nitely a brand game. It’s not any­thing other than that.”

He makes an apt com­par­i­son with other prod­ucts. “I’m not sure who grows Star­bucks beans, or Heinz’s toma­toes, or An­heuserBusc­h’s hops, but they make great prod­ucts and they brand them well, and dis­trib­ute them well, and make good mar­gins for their share­hold­ers. And that’s what I’d like to do with this busi­ness.”

The names cre­ated for strains of mar­i­juana range from street slang — Pink Kush, Tan­ger­ine Dream, Rock­star Kush — to monikers that make smok­ing pot sound like a trip to the spa: Re­new, Re­store, Rest, Re­fresh, Re­lax, Un­plug.

The Al­taVie brand (“mak­ing mind­ful­ness more at­tain­able”) has a strain that of­fers a clever twist on the chill-vibe theme. It’s called “Air­plane Mode.”

“Dance­hall,” a Spinach strain de­scribed on the web­site as “clear­headed, ac­tive and en­er­giz­ing,” might speak to the night­club crowd.

For names that chan­nel the ro­mance of the great out­doors, Al­taVie has Camp­fire and North­star. Two dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies have strains called Sensi-Star.

Some com­pa­nies prom­ise to make it eas­ier to choose the right pot by nam­ing strains after moods or ac­tiv­i­ties. Solei, a brand that prom­ises to “help you find your light,” of­fers strains “suited to any oc­ca­sion,” ac­cord­ing to the web­site. The names? Gather, Sense, Bal­ance, Free, Un­plug and Re­new. “Skip the yoga class and still find your Zen,” says the web­site de­scrip­tion for Bal­ance. Free, a sen­ti­ment any­one can get be­hind, is “your spa es­cape — with­out the hefty bill.”

Can­nTrust’s Xs­cape brand gets more spe­cific, with strains called Walk the Dog, TGIF and Flix ’n Chill. “You can imag­ine what you’ll be do­ing and what (the cannabis) will be do­ing for you,” Rogers said.

The names will also help ed­u­cate cus­tomers who don’t know the dif­fer­ence be­tween strains, Rogers said.

“When you ask some­one, ‘Hey, did you smoke a joint last night?’ ‘Yeah, I smoked a joint last night.’ ‘Well, what was it?’ ‘Well, I have no idea. It was weed.’ ”

Can­nTrust’s Liiv brand in­cludes strain names that will sound fa­mil­iar to “ex­pe­ri­enced users,” says Rogers, such as Bud­dha Haze and Bali Kush. The other names? Easy Cheesy, Yin & Yang, Clar­ity Coast and Kinky Kush.

Aphria’s brand for “ex­pe­ri­enced users” who want “high po­tency” prod­ucts is called RIFF.

At Or­ganiGram Hold­ings Inc. in New Brunswick, the pre­mium brand is called The Edi­son Cannabis Com­pany, after Thomas Edi­son, the in­ven­tor who helped create the mo­tion pic­ture cam­era. Fol­low­ing that theme, the strains are named after clas­sic movies: Lola Mon­tès, Rio Bravo, Casablanca, City Lights, La Strada.

At first, the names will be paired with the cor­re­spond­ing tra­di­tional cannabis names, said Or­ganigram’s chief oper­at­ing of­fi­cer Ray Grace­wood. City Lights is Crit­i­cal Kush, for ex­am­ple. The old names will even­tu­ally be dropped as cus­tomers be­come more fa­mil­iar with the new ones, he said.

The Edi­son brand will also be in­cluded in a va­ri­ety pack by the AHLOT com­pany that al­lows users to sam­ple strains from five dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies.

Tweed, the huge grower in

Smiths Falls, is count­ing on the name recog­ni­tion of strains sold to its med­i­cal-mar­i­juana users. Those fa­mil­iar names will mi­grate to the recre­ational side of the mar­ket. They in­clude: Ar­gyle, Bak­er­street, High­lands, Pene­lope, Her­ring­bone, Bal­moral, Boaty McBoat­face, Hound­stooth, Done­gal and Tweed CBD.

Dream­ing up names is the fun part of the busi­ness, said Jay Wil­gar, CEO of New­strike Brands Ltd., the par­ent com­pany of Up Cannabis, in an in­ter­view.

Up has a fi­nan­cial and cre­ative re­la­tion­ship with the Trag­i­cally Hip. In July, the com­pany an­nounced five strain names that were a nod to Hip song ti­tles, but since then one name was dropped and two oth­ers short­ened, mak­ing the as­so­ci­a­tion less clear. A strain called “Morn­ing Moon,” for ex­am­ple, which is the ti­tle of a song, has been changed to sim­ply Moon. “Per­fect for couch surf­ing,” says the com­pany de­scrip­tion.

The ti­tles are “in­spired by Trag­i­cally Hip ex­pe­ri­ences,” said Wil­gar in a state­ment to share­hold­ers.

The other strains are Grace (“may make you want to try hi­ber­na­tion over so­cial­iza­tion”); Gems (“at first you may try to take your pants off over your head, but you’ll quickly get your groove on”), 50 (“gives you a cere­bral boost”) and Merid­ian (“the per­fect start to an evening shared with friends”).

As­so­ci­at­ing mar­i­juana with at­trac­tive life­styles is also pro­hib­ited.

 ??  ?? “Trailer Park Buds,” a strain of mar­i­juana from Or­ganiGram, aims to cap­i­tal­ize on the no­to­ri­ety and party spirit of the Trailer Park Boys.
“Trailer Park Buds,” a strain of mar­i­juana from Or­ganiGram, aims to cap­i­tal­ize on the no­to­ri­ety and party spirit of the Trailer Park Boys.
 ?? AL­TAVIE.CA JACQUIE ?? Recre­ational cannabis com­pany At­laVie of­fers strains in­clud­ing Camp­fire, Air­plane Mode, North Star CBD, Har­monic and Cabaret.MILLER
AL­TAVIE.CA JACQUIE Recre­ational cannabis com­pany At­laVie of­fers strains in­clud­ing Camp­fire, Air­plane Mode, North Star CBD, Har­monic and Cabaret.MILLER

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