Canadian Cannabis Brands For Women by Women

Canadian Cannabis Brands For Women by Women

[Editor’s Note: It’s awesome that women are taking the helm of cannabis related companies. These women are bringing tasteful design to the market place, which is a much welcome change.]

Thanks to legalization, women who couldn’t see themselves reflected in the prohibition-era cannabis marketplace are opening up about their use, and the opportunity for brands to connect with them has never been greater.

But with the explosion of brands trying to cater to half the population, it’s tough to discern which are genuinely keen to engage with female-identifying consumers, and which are simply content to “pinkwash” products with the intent of cashing in.

Femme-Focused Brands

One of the first brands to speak to Canadian women, Van der Pop, was founded by April Pride after she realized her husband’s NFL-branded pipe didn’t exactly suit her taste. She began by creating a line of chic accessories but quickly realized that there was a bigger conversation to be had about women’s cannabis consumption.

Senior brand manager Lauren Pryor says femme-focused brands like Van der Pop are important for two reasons: Not only do they help to address the different effects that cannabis can have on the female body; they also work to dispel societal stigmas around cannabis consumption that prevent women from discussing their use.

But what sets Van der Pop apart? Pryor said it has to do with thought leadership and an emphasis on research, like Van der Pop’s recurring Women & Weed study.

In addition to offering a selection of feminine accessories, Pryor said Van der Pop aims to empower women with information. Take Dear Vandy, a cannabis-focused advice column, or Hot Box, which delves into cannabis and sex. It also sells two strains selected by Pride and her staff, currently available in Manitoba and Ontario.

While Van der Pop appeals to the established cannabis consumer, Irisa, a brand under the High Park Company umbrella, wants to connect with women who prioritize health and wellness, but who might “not be so willing to wave the flag of ‘cannabis consumer’,” according to spokesperson Berrin Noorata.

Femme-Forward Formulations

In an effort to offer canna-curious women and first-timers products that they could rely on, the team behind Irisa developed four low-dose oils that are “discrete and made for consumers to incorporate into their self-care routines.”

The line includes Sun, a high-CBD option; Earth, a balanced, slightly CBD-dominant oil; Moon, the line’s highest THC option; and Stars, a balanced oil with slightly more THC. It’s most potent oil contains just five milligrams of THC per millilitre.

irisa cannabis oilsPhoto by Jesse Milns for Leafly

“We’re big believers in micro-dosing and layering up dependence… we wanted to develop a product that women could trust and come back to regularly because they know what they are going to get,” said Noorata. She said the brand is also working to create community events for women across the country.  So far, Irisa’s oils are only available in BC, Ontario, and Quebec.

Licensed-producer-backed brands have certainly caught women’s attention, but smaller, more entrepreneurial brands are making their mark on Canadian women, too.

Bespoke Accessories

When Emma Baron was hired to work at a medical cannabis clinic, she noticed that clients who were new to cannabis had a hard time finding the right accessories to use with their medicine. She and Dr. Carolina Landolt founded Milkweed, an accessories brand that brings one-of-a-kind, Canadian-made cannabis goods to market.

Baron works with artists and makers from across the country to co-design bespoke cannabis accessories that could pass as collectible art pieces. She doesn’t necessarily peg the brand as one that caters to women, but she recognizes that an inherent femininity comes through in its product offering simply because the collections are curated by women.

“We set out to make it genderless, and really the focus for us is a craft look—but I think just by nature of being a female entrepreneur in this space, it does have a sort of feminine touch.” Baron said Milkweed is also looking to work with a licensed producer to bring a line of topicals to market.

At Verde Vie, the focus is as much on creating well-designed products for a new generation of female consumers as it is about working to break down stigma.

Olivia Levy, a medical cannabis consumer with a law background, started the brand after becoming frustrated with hiding something that had dramatically improved her quality of life.

“It was a very big part of me that I couldn’t share with the world,” Levy said.

Taking inspiration from the bar cart, she asked herself why the same approach—one that normalizes consumption while allowing one to personalize their ‘stash—couldn’t be applied to cannabis.

“It’s about normalizing everyday objects, and creating beautiful, aesthetically pleasing items that we can view seamlessly without necessarily having to hide,” said Levy.

Verde Vie’s starter kit includes everything you might need to roll a joint, including rolling papers, lighters, and a grinder card. The brand also works with artists to create accessories like pipes, trays, and clothing.

Verde Vie’s sister site, Stay Cultivated, ties it all together. The educational, inspirational, and behind-the-scenes content all speaks to Verde Vie’s mission to “create a new kind of cannabis culture,” said Levy.

For Women by Women

At Eve, founder and CEO Melinda Rombouts is creating a new kind of corporate cannabis culture. She’s at the helm of a company staffed predominately by women. (Eve’s medical brand, Natural Med Co., was the first licensed producer in Canada founded by a woman.)

Proud to hire women with grey market experience as the brand’s internal specialists, Rombouts said among other products in development, Eve plans to sell edibles once regulations are in place—including lines of vegan and gluten-free products.

“We’re looking to the moms of the world, the working women of the world,” said Rombouts. “We want to change the story of cannabis for them so that they’re more comfortable.”

Eve also dedicates time and resources to research, and is currently working with a partner to examine the way cannabis affects women’s health issues like endometriosis.

Since 2016, Rombouts has kept track of the uptick in women’s brands, and says that while females run “only a few,” the sense among women in the industry feels increasingly like one of camaraderie.

“Women will gravitate to any one of these women’s brands. We’re very supportive of each other, and I don’t think we see it as a competition.”

Another company backing up its women-focused branding with female leadership is 48 North, where Alison Gordon and Jeannette VanderMarel act as co-CEOs. In June 2018, Gordon became the first woman to take a Canadian cannabis company public in Canada, before VanderMarel joined the team in December.

At 48 North, VanderMarel said the focus is on creating health and wellness products geared to adult women that are high-quality, consistent and in some cases, organic.

“We’re creating products that appeal to women, and as women ourselves, I think we have a good vibe on that… we won’t be creating products with synthetic inputs or colours; it’s about sensible products we might give to a friend, or our sick mother,” she said.

hemp wickPhotos by Jesse Milns for Leafly

It’s the brand’s no-fear approach to cultivation that sets it apart not only from other brands, but from most other licensed producers: 48 North is currently awaiting approval from Health Canada to grow organic cannabis on a 100-acre outdoor farm, with the hopes of being the first company to provide Canadian women (and men, too) with a selection of more sustainable cannabis products.

“One of the things I think women and people in general really care about is the environment,” said VanderMarel. “I think [our farm] could really address the issue of supply, but also gives a large quantity of quality organic product that we think is important for the market.”

Whatever your thoughts on women’s cannabis brands, they provide women with an environment within which they can learn, while feeling safe to speak up, ask questions, and participate—but also one where they can see themselves as innovative founders and top-level executives (with, of course, an incredible array of more feminine products and accessories to choose from).

Original Post: Leafly: Canadian Cannabis Brands For Women by Women

3 Sustainable Innovations for Home Growing Canadians

3 Sustainable Innovations for Home Growing Canadians

[Editor’s Note: For Growers: Here are a few ideas that may help you to reduce your carbon footprint as you grown your own cannabis.]
Growing at home may have a reputation for increasing the cost of your electrical bill, or requiring a host of environmentally unfriendly tools to guarantee a decent harvest—but what if there were “greener” ways to start growing your own cannabis?

Now that Canadians are able to grow at home, innovative green thumbs are coming out of the woodwork with sustainably minded cultivation tools and mediums geared to those who aren’t quite sure where to start.

Nowhere was this more evident than at the Lift & Co. Expo in Vancouver earlier this month, where salespeople from across North America were eager to show consumers their environmentally safe products.

The Stealth Box

When North Vancouver’s Brad Simon set out to build prototypes for what would eventually become known as the Stealth Box, he wanted to create an answer to the modern grow kit that utilized the smallest footprint possible, while including all necessary tools and accessories—and at the best price for the consumer.

stealth box

Photo from StealthBox/Facebook

“We tested out tons of different lights, different nutrients, different soils,” Simon told Leafly.

“We ended up with a really good combination that gets us a small footprint of 20 inches by 20 inches by 36 inches, while producing two to four ounces per grow cycle—and, at about $5 a month to run, it uses almost no energy.”

It may sound too good to be true, but it gets better: the all-encompassing kit includes everything needed from seed to harvest, including a seedling dome, watering can, scissors, organic living soil, nutrients, cloth pots, lights, filters, and a grow manual that takes the user through a step-by-step process. And at $1,495, it falls in line with the cost of other more conventional grow kits.

Simon says the beauty of the Stealth Box is its simplicity. The locking box is also built to comply with federal regulations and allows for exactly four plants.

U-Cann

When choosing the organic living soil for the Stealth Box, Simon opted to keep it local and sourced from Gaia Green, a company based in British Columbia’s Kootenay region with 30 years in the organic fertilizer business. It recently launched a new line of products, U-Cann, which aims to help novices take the guessing game out of growing.

u-cann soilColleen Ross, Gaia Green’s ethics and marketing manager, is also involved in research and development for the company. As an organic farmer whose passion sparked her interest in cannabis, she said she was rather disturbed by the amount of synthetic products that she saw being used on plants that were intended for medicinal use.

“For me, ethically, I thought, we need to influence the cannabis industry to make people aware that there is a simple solution to synthetic options, and that is a simple organic soil medium.”

Ross says Gaia Green’s new U-Cann brand makes it easy for health-minded consumers who may not know what type of medium or nutrients are needed to grow cannabis plants. Each of the line’s three components comes from ethically sourced, organic ingredients suited to the unique needs of the cannabis plant. She says U-Cann formulations not only improve plant performance; they also protect against common diseases like moulds and mildews.

Step one, Ross says, is U-Cann’s Primal Earth, a nutrient dense super soil. Herb Thrive organic nutrients help to increase plant growth during the vegetative stage, while Abundant Bloom, a second nutrient, is meant to be used during the plant’s flowering stage to increase bud production.

The Green Bag Company

If you prefer to stay away from grow kits, finding the right pots and grow bags that allow plants to be easily uprooted and transplanted can be challenging. The Green Bag Company based in Revelstoke, BC has come up with a solution that not only diverts potential waste from landfills; it’s also biodegradable and durable, able to withstand temperatures between -30 degrees to 70 degrees Celsius.

At Green Bag Company, vibrantly coloured grow pots are manufactured from the excess material used by parent company Shade Sails Canada, which has been manufacturing shade sails intended for use on sailboats for the last 20 years.

“Instead of throwing it out, we’re using the leftover from the shade sails to make grow bags,” the company’s Anne Murphy told Leafly. The unique fabric comes from Australia and is so expensive, Murphy said no one would purchase it to make grow bags, so the company began manufacturing their own.

Green Bag Company makes one-, three-, five-, and 10-gallon bags, as well as seedling cones and special transplanter pots that are fitted with Velcro along each side to take the struggle out of transplanting ($14.99 to $39.99). Transplanter kits with multiple pots are also available ($70.99). The reasonably priced, breathable, and biodegradable bags are also UV resistant and BPA free.

Original Post: Leafly: 3 Sustainable Innovations for Home Growing Canadians

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