Clar­ity on cannabis

Ed­u­ca­tion part of the job for li­censed pro­duc­ers

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - BUSINESS - BY JOSH LEWIS

“We had some chal­lenges with get­ting all the pack­ag­ing and every­thing we need to ful­fil the or­der. The chal­lenges we’ve had, in many cases, are beyond our con­trol. None­the­less, we deal with those the best we can, and over­all in terms of peo­ple be­ing able to get out to the stores, we’re very happy.” Ed­win Jewell

When a drug has been il­le­gal for so long, peo­ple are bound to have ques­tions.

For Dina Qah­waji, an­swer­ing those ques­tions is a pri­or­ity.

Qah­waji is an as­so­ciate brand man­ager for Aphria, one of 12 li­censed pro­duc­ers sup­ply­ing P.E.I.’s gov­ern­ment-run cannabis re­tail stores.

“The goal re­ally for us is to de­mys­tify cannabis and make that shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence easy,” Qah­waji said.

The com­pany’s cannabis brand, Solei, pro­duces six strains, each de­signed for a par­tic­u­lar oc­ca­sion or time of day.

P.E.I. Cannabis em­ploy­ees took a tour of the Solei Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre, an in­ter­ac­tive pop-up unit, in Char­lot­te­town just be­fore le­gal­iza­tion day in Oc­to­ber. The dis­play of­fers in­for­ma­tion about each of the strains and aims to pro­vide a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of cannabis.

The strains are Re­new, a high­THC Indica rec­om­mended for night use; Un­plug, a milder Indica in­tended for un­wind­ing; Free, which is high in CBD, the med­i­cal com­po­nent of cannabis; Bal­ance, with nearly equal parts THC and CBD; Gather, a sati­vadom­i­nant hy­brid; and Sense, a sativa meant for “in­ti­mate oc­ca­sions.”

Each strain was de­vel­oped with the idea of com­ple­ment­ing an ex­pe­ri­ence, Qah­waji said.

“Iden­ti­fy­ing all these dif­fer­ent key points in our con­sumers’ day, it’s re­ally about the oc­ca­sions and how cannabis can be part of that.”

Solei’s cannabis is sun-grown and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly, Qah­waji said.

“Through our green­houses, we use one-twelfth of the power of a tra­di­tional grow­ing oper­a­tion … we def­i­nitely look to save as much of that as we can and be re­spon­si­ble and eco-friendly.”

The com­pany also re­cy­cles rain wa­ter and re­turns its com­post to re­duce its car­bon foot­print.

On the Is­land, mean­while, it’s been a busy cou­ple of months for FIGR, the recre­ational brand run by Canada’s Is­land Gar­den.

Pres­i­dent and CEO Ed­win Jewell said staff have gone above and beyond in grow­ing sup­ply for P.E.I.’s stores.

He doesn’t an­tic­i­pate any is­sues with sup­ply, but pack­ag­ing slows the process.

“We had some chal­lenges with get­ting all the pack­ag­ing and every­thing we need to ful­fil the or­der. The chal­lenges we’ve had, in many cases, are beyond our con­trol,” he said.

“None­the­less, we deal with those the best we can, and over­all in terms of peo­ple be­ing able to get out to the stores, we’re very happy.”

FIGR cur­rently sup­plies P.E.I. and Nova Sco­tia and hopes to ex­pand fur­ther.

“With the fu­ture di­rec­tion our com­pany’s go­ing to grow, we’re very ex­cited about the op­por­tu­nity in the in­dus­try and to be the only LP in P.E.I.”

Mean­while, the P.E.I. Cannabis store in O’Leary might not open un­til Jan­uary, said op­er­a­tions man­ager Zach Cur­rie.

“We con­tinue to work dili­gently with our part­ners from the Town of O’Leary and our con­trac­tors. It’s go­ing to be a real team ef­fort to push to have the store op­er­a­tional be­fore the new year.”

JOSH LEWIS/THE GUARDIAN

Ed­win Jewell, pres­i­dent and CEO of Canada’s Is­land Gar­den, one of P.E.I.’s li­censed cannabis pro­duc­ers, doesn’t an­tic­i­pate any is­sues with sup­ply, but said pack­ag­ing slows the process.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Jade Cadasse, brand am­bas­sador for Solei, shows off the Solei Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre, an in­ter­ac­tive pop-up cannabis unit in Char­lot­te­town.

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