THE AESTHETICS OF CANNABIS

This hot topic is literally on the lips of just about everyone right now here in Canada; legalization of cannabis usage comes into effect on October 17, 2018. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement on June 20th after a century-long prohibition of cannabis. Cannabis will be available for purchase in flower and oil form (sounds like edibles will come in 2019) online and in-store. Just like alcohol, you must be 18 years old (in Alberta and Quebec) or 19 years old in the rest of the country. Here in Calgary, I’ve already been seeing storefronts popping up all over the city waiting for the October 17th launch date.

While it is certainly an exciting time for cannabis entrepreneurism in Canada, the industry still has a long way to go to reduce the stigma of cannabis usage (even medical usage still has stigma) and also make reparations for people who were treated unfairly and charged by police for possession of cannabis. There is actual proof and documentation that the enforcement of cannabis laws in the past, have disproportionately affected marginalized and racialized communities. This article by the Broadbent Institute by Akwasi Owusu-Bempah outlines the very important ways that Canada’s government, police service and cannabis industry stakeholders can work to rectify this unfair treatment of the people and communities affected by the war on drugs. Be sure to read through it – this information is essential as legalization moves forward.

Beyond all of the legislation talk, I have been most fascinated by the aesthetics of cannabis. As someone who is obsessed with cultural trends it is hard not to notice how good-looking this industry is turning out to be.

photo via Tokyo Smoke

My first introduction to the art & design of the cannabis industry was through Tokyo Smoke, a Toronto-based cannabis and coffee lifestyle company. They opened up their first coffee shop in Calgary in the fall of 2017; their marketing director Josh Lyon (he is now Vice President of Marketing and Partnerships at Hiku Brands, the umbrella company for Tokyo Smoke among others) actually spoke at our conference Next Big Thing that October about this changing industry. Tokyo Smoke is slick; its for the modern weed connoisseur – really no different than someone who is super into whiskey or cocktails. Walking into the store, you’ll find all sorts of sculptural objects which turn out to be stylish pipes, 24K gold pre-rolled cones and luxury scented candles. They also happen to have really great coffee and delicious vegan grab-and-go options; all in all its a beautifully designed coffee shop that will soon sell cannabis.

photo via Tokyo Smoke

Tokyo Smoke introduced me to Van Der Pop, which is their sister brand, a women-forward company that is leader in the industry and a huge proponent in reducing stigma against usage by women and parents. Their products are perfectly designed – from their stylish leather zip bags and black glass stash jars. Sign up their newsletter and read their blog which are both always full of interesting facts and studies on the industry, topical discussions about cannabis and general knowledge bombs about cannabis.

photos via Van Der Pop

Since finding out about Tokyo Smoke and Van Der Pop, I started noticing new cannabis product companies popping up all over the place in Canada and beyond. Here are just a few of the brands that I feel are making waves in the aesthetics of cannabis.

Alair Vaporizers: Based out of Toronto, Alair is know for their discreet rechargeable vaporizers. Packaged up in this black and gold box (with tropical florals on the inside) it is easy to why they are becoming such a big player in the industry.

FLEURS:  Hemp derived CBD tea coming right at you – and in the prettiest package ever. FLEURS, which I believe is based in Vancouver, has three teas in their line-up all for different experiences (i.e. DOZE, WOKE, CHILL, CLEAN). Their packaging is fresh and fun – and totally designed for a specific demographic: people who like DavidsTea but also like to get high.

Yew Yew: Yew Yew is not Canadian but this NYC-based designer makes such incredible modern ceramic pipes that are truly mini works of art. The shapes are so sculptural that your grandmother probably wouldn’t know she was looking at a pipe if you had it sitting on your bookshelf – or maybe she would and she’d love her own. Their latest art collaboration is a limited edition collection that features the gorgeously quirky artwork of UK based artists Liv & Dom.

HighNoon: Another pipe company, another Toronto designed product – HighNoon pipes are all made by hand – no two are exactly alike. The pipes come in three different shapes: 8AM, High Noon and 10 After 6. I love all of their product photography – they get kinda weird and experimental and I love all the long polished nails in combination with the pipes.

Mister Green: Again, not a Canadian company but Tokyo Smoke carries a lot of Mister Green products and has even collaborated with them on a few projects. Mister Green is a lifestyle shop in LA and carries everything EVERYTHING for the modern day toker. Their brand is fun and chill with a great sense of humour – i.e. the Bong Water water bottle above is theirs.

Allume Chill Box: The subscription box has officially reached the world of cannabis. The Allume Chill Box is sent out of Montreal and features a curated selection of cannabis accessories like rolling papers, ceramic goods, lighters and accessories.

Levo Oil: Not just for cannabis, LEVO Oil Infuser allows you to infuse butter or oil using herbs, fruit and other ingredients. They even have an app that allows you to control your infusions while you are on the go. As far as kitchen gadgets go, this is one seriously cool one to add to your collection.

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