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VOLUME

01

ISSUE

02

BIGGEST EVER OUTDOOR CROP

PLUS

Cannabis trends to watch in 2021

AND

60 acres of cannabis so dank you can stick a pen to your nose after stopping to smell the flowers

INSIDE

Some of the products we really liked

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CANNABIS RETAILER VERNON 102, 2500 53 AVE

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FEATURES Sustainable weed

Truly ‘green’ bud is still a ways away, but there are shoots...

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Volume 01, Issue 02 February/March 2021

Stories about Canadian cannabis Must be 19+ years of age to subscribe

Under the sun

This has been a record-breaking year for outdoor cannabis

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Publisher

David Wylie Media + Communication

Editor

Steep learning

Don’t scorch your leaves! A few tips for high tea

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DEPARTMENTS First hit

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Reviews

6

Profile

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Last hit

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What’s to come in cannabis? We do some guesswork Eat and drink our reviews up; Cannabis 2.0 is *chef’s kiss*

Meet the mother-daughter duo behind Green Gaia Cannabis

Cannabis could be a game changer for athletes

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Writers in this issue Jenny Neufeld Dean Millard Roohi Sahajpal David Wylie To advertise

Contact Michael at sales@okanaganz.com

Cover shot

SpeakEasy Cannabis harvested the biggest outdoor crop in Canada. Story on page 12.

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First hit

What’s to come in legal weed... By David Wylie It’s going to be a good year for cannabis consumers; lower prices, more products, beyond just THC and CBD The stage is set for a year of phenomenal growth in the cannabis industry. Here are some of the trends you can expect to see. More affordable weed Prices haven’t hit the basement floor yet. We’ll continue to see decreases on flower and Cannabis 2.0 products. More outdoor growing means flower is available at lower costs—perfect for low-cost extraction. More than two years post-legalization, companies that are surviving have optimized their operations and can produce more efficiently. Value-priced bud options will take up more room on shelves. Premium flower will have to up its game to stay competitive.

Greater variety Offerings beyond plain old flower are going to increase in prevalence and popularity. Cannabis consumers can already find everything from chocolates, gummies, teas, sparkling water, mints, powders, snack bars, vapes, hash, shatter, bath products and topicals. Yet the selection is still found wanting. That will change fast because the demand is there. Statistics Canada says edibles have become the second most used form of cannabis. Flower remains king. Sales continue to climb Legal cannabis sales will continue to trend upwards as more brick and mortar stores are added, prices decline, quality improves, and more 2.0 products are available. Last year, legal sales surpassed illicit sales for the first time, and the gap has been widening.

Red, white, blue... and green The US is poised for massive growth. With cannabis-friendly Democrats in power, the door is open for the passage of significant cannabis legislation. Meanwhile, many more states are considering legalizing recreational cannabis, including New York and Hawaii. Millions of new legal cannabis consumers are joining the fray, and Canadian regulations will have to loosen so we can stay competitive. No longer just THC and CBD We all know about THC and CBD, but expect to hear a lot more about different cannabinoids—CBN and CBG in particular will begin to join the conversation. People will talk much more about terpenes and how they affect the experience. Research around the world continues to unlock the secrets of cannabis and how it affects us. David Wylie is publisher of the oz. Reach him at david@okanaganz.com. okanaganz.com

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Reviews

Eat, drink, & be merry THC Kiss

Houseplant Drinks

Deep Space

THC Kiss is a party on the inside and business on the outside. The 10-mg cannabis shooter is one of the most delicious drinks on the market. It tastes and smells just like a smoothie. Its sweet guava flavour pops. In contrast, the packaging is very clinical. There’s a lot of room for improvement in the Kelowna-company’s marketing department. As for effect, the onset took only a few minutes and rose gently to its peak. My biggest complaint is that I wish there was more of it.

Houseplant Grapefruit and Houseplant Lemon sparkling water are both refreshing. The grapefruit drink has a flavourful edge. Houseplant Grapefruit comes in a pink can. It is one of the best tasting cannabis drinks on the market. The grapefruit smell is pleasant and the taste is fresh. Houseplant Lemon comes in a baby blue can. It’s notably subtle, with barely a tastebud touched. Carbonation is on point, and you can feel the burn after the first few big gulps.

Deep Space is supposed to be “bold and mysterious.” One has to wonder if the creators of the Deep Space cannabis drinks are from another planet—one where taste buds are oddly different. Described by the marketing team as “full flavoured,” the cannabis drink is reminiscent of cough syrup, with strong notes of flat off-brand cola. The cannabis beverage packs 10 mg of THC in its 222 ml aluminum vessel. Each drink contains 22 grams of sugar.

Summit 10

Legend Chocolates

Wana Gummies

Summit 10 Lemonade Iced Tea from The Valens Company is lemony fresh, with a Nestea vibe. It’s made with black tea, and only contains seven grams of sugar in each 355 ml bottle. Valens’ SōRSE Emulsion Technology really shines through Summit, as there’s no cannabis taste or smell at all and the onset is quick. Summit 10 packs 10 mg of THC and less than 1 mg of CBD. This will be a great summer sipper.

The chocolate used by Legend comes from renowned master chocolatier Bernard Callebaut. They offer Dark Chocolate (pictured) and milk chocolate, as well as flavourful varieties; raspberry, orange, candy cane crush. Each bitesized 10-gram bar is infused with 10 mg of THC. It’s scored into four pieces (2.5 mg of THC each). There’s no hint of cannabis taste. Legend’s offerings are some of the most affordable chocolates on the market.

They may have sour in the title but these gummies are satisfyingly sweet and delicious. We enjoyed all three varieties available from Wana, a Colorado based company that has partnered with Indiva in Ontario for production of its Canadian goods. There are two gummies per package which makes dosing, or sharing, nice and easy. They come in five different flavours with different THC/CBD percentages. Blueberry is our favourite overall.

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Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em Pipe Dream

Verse Tropic Lemon

Blue Seagal

Pipe Dream by Broken Coast is top shelf. Sinuses were seriously tingling from vaping the 22.2% THC Sativa-dominant proprietary cultivar. It gives a creative effect. The BC-grown bud is dank and dense. We had four nice nugs in our eighth, including two really pretty ones. The smell is bright, with hints of … perhaps, nostalgia. Its dominant terpenes are myrcene and caryophyllene.

This is the cocktail of vapes. It goes down easy… too easy. Verse Originals Tropic Lemon is a 0.3-gram, 510-thread cartridge filled with a Sativa-dominant cannabis distillate with a terpene-rich blend. It’s inspired by Lemon Jack and Tropic Thunder strains. The light, clean taste is a nice blend of floral and citrus; while some lemon vapes can be overwhelmingly lemon, this one is balanced. The mouthpiece of the 510-cart is comfortable and rounded.

Just like food, cannabis is enjoyed also by the eyes and nose. Indica-dominant Blueberry Seagal fires on all the senses: smell, looks and taste. The potent scent is like sticking your nose between a flowering cannabis plant and a ripe blueberry bush. Its dense and crystalline buds are light green with deep-orange pistils. The effect is a mellow body buzz with a nice mental blur. Sometimes something unique comes available that stands out – this is one of them.

Dose Controller

Redees Pre-Rolls

BC Organic Apple Toffee

The dose vape system makes a good first impression. It’s sleek and well packaged. When the pods snap magnetically into place, the controller vibrates and lights up briefly at the tip. It’s pleasant to hold. Even the instructions are nice. The dose pen uses time-controlled measurements to deliver 2.5 mg of THC with each hit. It takes a few seconds’ pull to get the controller to signal a full draw with a gentle vibration.

Pre-rolls haven’t been enticing. Many are expensive and rolled like big ol’ baseball bats that flare up when lit, burn awkwardly and go out mid-way through. Often they burn tar-black. Then we tried Redecan’s Redees, discovering they are exactly what we’ve wanted from a preroll. They’re fancy and rolled thin. They burn reliably and the rolled up cardboard filter is designed just right. They come in a variety of Redecan strains.

Simply Bare’s BC Organic Toffee is night and day what we were getting at the start of legalization. Its smell was milder than expected, yet sweet and light which matches its taste. Vaping this bud produces nice clouds even at lower temperatures. Its thick and heavy porcelain jar goes a long way in keeping the flower fresh. The trim could have been better, with some leafy bits still attached. At 18.87% THC, the effect isn’t overpowering.

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Friends in high places

All in the family at Green Gaia

DAVID WYLIE/the oz.

Dionne Bakalos (left) and her daughter, Katerina, have opened a pair of cannabis stores in the South Okanagan.

By David Wylie Not every parent partners with their kid to open a cannabis store. Dionne Bakalos did just that with her daughter Katerina, who is owner operator of Green Gaia Cannabis Co. The licensed cannabis retail store has two South Okanagan locations, in Summerland and in Penticton. “We really wanted to support Katerina on her beliefs, and to really listen to her on what she wanted to do as a career path—which is not easy as a parent when 8

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your child says, ‘I’m into cannabis,’” says Dionne in an interview with the oz. Dionne says she never experimented in high school. Katerina, on the other hand, says that she was curious from a young age about the cannabis plant and what it could do for her. She says it has helped her a lot over the years. When she discovered CBD isolate, her interest rose to new highs. “It started with treating our family,” says Katerina. “At the time, Dionne was going through some health issues and needed to find some relief.”

Dionne was prescribed numerous drugs, including prednisone, which had myriad side effects. She decided to experiment with different CBD formulations until she found one that worked. Soon she was feeling better and back to work. Despite surviving multiple fights with cancer, Katerina’s father was a little tougher to persuade. Relief for sleep problems eventually turned him toward cannabis. “My dad had really bad insomnia, so we got him started on it. He was never a believer in it, and seeing me experiment as I was younger didn’t go over very well.”


“We’re in it for the right reasons and that’s our focus.” — Dionne Bakalos “Once he started seeing the results from Dionne, he thought he’d give it try,” says Katerina. Katerina says she worked with a local scientist to formulate bath and body products. Word spread as they shared their own family successes. In October 2017, they opened a retail location inside Summerland Gold to make their CBD products available. In June 2018, they opened Green Gaia in Summerland. They’ve since transitioned into the legal market. The family has deep roots in Summerland. Dionne has lived in the small community for 40 years. She says she feels compassion for her neighbours who are also suffering from pain and ailments. “We were medical before we were recreational,” says Dionne. “We’re in it for the right reasons and that’s our focus. A lot of people were coming in in pain and

we were wanting to treat that. Listening to them is really key—what they’re trying to say and reading between the lines sometimes.” Katerina says it is a tricky balance trying to help people in such a highly regulated market. There are limitations to what they can say to customers. “We can’t give medical advice,” says Katerina. Still, they are able to help guide customers toward strains and products they may enjoy. “We get people coming in here with canes or in pain, you know that they’re hurting. You’ll see them a month later and they’ll be skipping into the store with a smile on their face and saying, ‘We’re doing great.’” Visit Green Gaia at 9-7519 Prairie Valley Road in Summerland and 210 Main Street in Penticton.

Green Gaia has locations in Penticton and Summerland

BC’s Largest Cannabis Selection Locally Owned & Operated

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Red tape tangles green cannabis industry By Roohi Sahajpal Want truly ‘green’ bud? You’re apt to be disappointed... for now

I

f you’re looking to buy the most sustainably grown cannabis in Canada, you may have to wait a bit longer. Producing the greenest cannabis is still in its infancy, say growers and advocates. Mikael Rykes and Sam Mik are two growers for Good Buds Co., a craft certified organic cannabis farm on Salt Spring Island, BC. They say that sustainability was easier in the legacy market. While current Health Canada regulations do make it tough, it’s possible if companies take the initiative. “It can be challenging with the regulations because there are certain things we need to comply with in terms of packaging requirements and microbial limits,” says Rykes, the master grower at Good Buds. He has over 16 years of experience in 10

the oz.

Contributed

Sam Mik grows for Good Buds Co. on Salt Spring Island in BC.

cannabis cultivation. The farm currently grows indoors and outdoors in a greenhouse, with the whole facility running off collected rain water and natural springs. “We do a lot of cover cropping and inner cropping, which is super beneficial both economically and sustainably. By cover cropping and inner cropping, we’re preparing the soil and improving fertility by filling back in our cover crops. It also attracts a lot of beneficial insects and has eliminated any need for spraying organic pesticides or fungicides,” adds Mik, who previously worked in the cannabis market in California and has been working in licensed cannabis production in Canada for almost three years.

Say you want a revolution Lisa Campbell runs the cannabis sales and marketing agency Mercari Agency Limited, which works with licensed cannabis companies to help them get their products to market through the recreational and medical channels. “Cannabis is a very energy intensive

activity when you’re growing indoors. Outdoor growing is the most sustainable way to grow cannabis, with the power of the sun. You’re not using HVAC to heat and cool your space, you’re not using energy intensive light. With the indoor environment, there are ways you can reduce your environmental impact. For example, using LED lights instead of energy intensive lights to reduce your energy cost and your heating cost as well.” She says that many cannabis companies are prioritizing moving towards a sustainable approach, but there are still some roadblocks. “We’re the second country in the world to legalize, so that’s why our regulations are so strict; we’re setting an example. This means that for a lot of those craft outdoor BC farmers that are growing on the mountainside in living soil, if there’s any microbial contamination, it’s hard for that flower to come to market.” Campbell says that even though BC has a rich history of growing high quality outdoor cannabis, an industry and consumer revolution, where consumers are demanding sustainable cannabis, is needed.


“I think that the unfortunate problem for organic, craft growers that are growing sustainably, is that it’s harder for them to get a good price, because of that market demand,” says Campbell. That’s because there hasn’t been education to help both government and consumers understand why outdoor organic cannabis is just as high quality as indoor hydroponic, she says. For home growers, grow boxes—such as the vertical farming start up, Mary Agrotechnologies, based in Ontario—focus on helping people grow the greenest possible cannabis at home. Their lights consume around 200W at full capacity, giving out as much light as a sunny July day in California, and they cost about $10-15/month on Toronto’s utility bills. “For the people who are concerned for the quality of their cannabis, we made sure that we gave you a solution that you can grow with ease yourself, with the water you know, with the seeds you obtain yourself, so you’re sure you’re doing it right and in turn that it’s safe and healthy,” says Frank Qin, CEO and Founder of Mary Agrotechnologies.

“It can be challenging with the regulations because there are certain things we need to comply with in terms of packaging requirements and microbial limits”

— Mikael Rykes Master grower at Good Buds

Waves of sustainability Kelly Coulter is a writer, farmer’s advocate and environmentalist. She co-founded the NORML Women’s Alliance of Canada which was credited with convincing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to legalize cannabis. She expects that as the cannabis industry matures and consumers become more educated, consumer values will start reflecting that of how it has in the food and coffee industries. She likens it to the ‘three waves

NIV SHIMSHON/Special to the oz. Contributed

Kelly Coulter, left, and Lisa Campbell are both advocating for greener weed.

of coffee’—with coffee now being in its third wave, where independent and artisanal coffee has become the norm, compared to its early stages of mass production and mainstream chain coffee shops. “Cannabis is on its first wave. We’re in the very regulated early days,” she says. “Consumer deviation is going to be

important in the next upcoming years in order to help develop the most sustainable and diverse cannabis industry as possible. If consumers don’t care, it won’t help the industry. People are paying more attention to everything they consume, they’re becoming more discerning and that will definitely affect cannabis.”

Lake Country Cannabis

A private, locally owned, licensed cannabis store with high quality, safe cannabis in a wide variety of different products and strains. We have everything from flowers, oils, and pre-rolls to edibles, concentrates and vape pens. But most importantly, we have friendly, well-trained staff. We promise that you will leave happy and well informed.

11850 Oceola Road #625, Lake Country 250-766-0033 lakecountrycannabis.ca


Inside SpeakEasy The world’s biggest outdoor legal harvest

Fall 2020 ended early in spectacular fashion with freezing temperatures and snow, but the summer was exactly what was expected for the area— blue skies, sun, heat and over 65 days without rain. Photo credit: SpeakEasy


By David Wylie

S

peakEasy founder Marc Geen had imagined it for years: standing in the middle of 60 acres of blooming cannabis plants, surrounded by crystal covered buds, the pungent scent hanging in the air. Now it’s finally a reality. “Walking through that is just unbelievable that it’s actually happening.”

Every week, with clipboard in hand, Geen compiled his assessment of each cannabis plant, collecting data throughout the growing season. “The last step is a smell test—so you take the bud and you squeeze it a little bit and put your nose right to it so you can really absorb that flavour—and you get a little bit of resin on the end of your nose,” he recalls. “By the time I got to the 10th or 15th plant I could actually stick my pen to the end of my nose and leave it hanging.” It’s been an extraordinary year for SpeakEasy Cannabis’ founder. “It’s been a whirlwind,” he says. Geen is a fourth-generation farmer. He’s dressed in a plaid shirt and blue jeans, as he tours the oz. through the operation located near Rock Creek, B.C. SpeakEasy harvested 60 acres of potted cannabis plants in fall 2020. “It’s the largest legal harvest in the world,” says Geen. The previous record outdoor legal crop was in Colorado, where 40 acres of licenses were cobbled together, he says. It was a perfect year weather-wise for SpeakEasy, with more than 60 days without rain from early July to the end of September. The plants grew between eight and 10-feet tall.

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The right genetics for outdoors They harvested three varieties: Apricot Kush, Kootenay Fruit, and a third strain they are testing out. The unusual fall weather showcased how critical it was to choose an outdoor genetic that finished early, otherwise, one was certain to have challenges harvesting their crop before the first blast of winter. Geen says the different varieties are intended to flower at different times to stagger the work, something he’s done throughout his farming life. “I come from the cherry industry and it’s a very intensive harvest period,” he says. “It requires a whole lot of infrastructure for processing. What you try to do in the cherry industry is spread your harvest out so you don’t have to have 500 people for seven to 10 days when your one variety is matured. You spread it out so you have a multiple staged harvest—six or seven varieties that all mature at a different time. You can have a smaller crew and smaller infrastructure and move through that harvest over a 30 to 40-day period. We attempted the same thing here with three different varieties and three different planting methods.” SpeakEasy also experimented with different sized pots. They were rewarded with six different harvest periods staggered over 35 days, wrapping up only one day before a freak snowfall in October. “We’ve been really lucky,” he says. “It was theoretical because no one’s ever really tried that on a huge scale, and it worked out really good.” 14

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DAVID WYLIE/the oz.

SpeakEasy employees trim buds from one of the company’s indoor grow rooms.

Pioneer roots run deep The Geen family has a rich history in farming. His grandparents were one of the original pioneer families in the Okanagan for tree fruits. They were involved in the start-up of Sun-Rype, a co-op founded by growers in the Okanagan who got tired of throwing away their cull apples. When Sun-Rype went public, Geen’s dad, Merv, was elected as director for the first term and then became chairman of the board and remained there until it was rolled back into a private company. Geen says he wasn’t too keen on the farming life when he was younger. “It’s indentured servitude is what it is,”

he says with a laugh. “It’s hot or it’s cold and it’s windy. You’re out in the elements all the time. The one thing I knew for sure I didn’t want to do when I got out of high school was farm; it was a terrible existence.” Yet after his parents started growing ginseng, they offered him a small area of the farm that was sitting fallow to manage as his own. “I just got hopelessly addicted to farming,” he says. “It’s instant gratification— at the end of the day you could look back and see what you’ve done. It just grew from there.” They bought the Rock Creek ranch in 1995, transitioning from ginseng, to cherries, and now to cannabis.


DAVID WYLIE/the oz.

SpeakEasy founder Marc Geen is a fourth generation farmer.

‘I just got hopelessly addicted to farming. It’s instant gratification— at the end of the day you could look back and see what you’ve done. It just grew from there.’ — Marc Geen Years to get a licence After a Supreme Court of Canada decision forced the federal government to create a medical cannabis program, Geen took an interest in the new Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR). He says his parents were fully supportive—though they “somehow miraculously made it through the ’60s without ever trying marijuana.” Along with his brother Pat and his

parents, they started SpeakEasy and applied for a Health Canada licence to grow medical marijuana. SpeakEasy was the 46th applicant in the process. However, the Conservative government at the time didn’t make it easy, and the process turned out to be much more onerous than they had expected. “They just made it as difficult as they possibly could, on purpose,” Geen says, adding it took six years, four months and three days to finally get a license. “It was very deliberate. Part of it was our own fault. We’ve been involved in farming for a long time and there’s all sorts of government programs that require applications.” He says they approached the MMPR the same way they did other farming applications. The scope, however, was beyond anything they’d done before. At the time they thought they were being “comprehensive” with their 20-page application. “Our final application was thousands of pages of documents, and video evidence. Looking back at what we did before, which we thought was all-inclusive, is laughable,” he says. On top of that, the federal government gave very little info to go on and any further guidance offered was vague at best.

Big boost for Rock Creek, B.C. After a slow start, they’re growing fast. SpeakEasy began at 10,000 square feet and has expanded over the years to 60 acres of outdoor cannabis and 100,000 square feet of completed buildings. Much of the indoor space was under construction during the oz.’s winter tour. The operation has been a boon to the nearby community of Rock Creek. SpeakEasy started the season with 15-20 employees. They soon grew to 30, then reached their harvest peak of 82 employees from mid-September to end of October. Dozens of employees have been working on processing. “In an area that has only 400-500 people,

we employ most of them here. We are the largest employer by quite a margin,” says Geen. “There will be an economic boom here. There will be some buildout as people move in. Part of the philosophy of the company has been to make sure that people have a living wage, so our starting wage is $20 an hour and goes up relatively quickly from that.” “People are making vehicle purchases for the first time. We’ve had a number of people purchasing houses for the first time in their lives,” he says. “We’ve got a nice little economy going here in the area. The people have been great. We try and keep as much local as we can; we use all the businesses here that we can.” The company plans to produce the cannabis it has grown in a SpeakEasy line of flower, extracts, shatter and rosin. “The whole plan at SpeakEasy is to make a name for itself and make that name recognizable, then get it all across Canada, and then eventually it goes around the world,” says Geen. “We will be processing all of our materials here. We will have very little bulk sales.” “Part of being a farmer and part of being a farming family, you really get to understand the economics of being a farmer. Farmers are the lowest peg. Once it finally gets to the customer, there are about 10 levels in there that it passes through. And most of them take a much larger cut than the actual producer. At no point, did I want to be the lowest peg.” Geen predicts there won’t be much of a market for bulk producers, as “they just get beat up too badly and go out of business.” That’s been the case, he says, in Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, and any states that have gone through the transition. “If you’re not a vertically integrated operation, or something absolutely spectacular in terms of quality, you just get ground up and spit out. That’s definitely not our intent.”

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Outdoor Economics • Indoor plants can yield about a pound of flower per plant, with outdoor yielding one to four pounds per plant. • The cost to grow outdoors can be as low as 10%-20% of other LPs. • Strains can be high in THC— some over 20%.

Contributed

Between its principal 32-acre plot of land and an adjoining 99-acre plot of land, Christina Lake Cannabis owns more than 100 acres of arable land to grow cannabis. They are planning a significant expansion this year.

Contributed

Contributed

Left: Christina Lake Cannabis uses a drone to fly over the field a number of times every day. The camera on the drone can see the thermal profile of each plant, helping them tell if plants are getting enough water, if there’s a male plant in field, and if there’s a pest issue. That makes scaling up easier to manage. Right: The company is developing strains that can weather cold.

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Extracting partnership In January, SpeakEasy entered into an extraction and consulting agreement with RC Frontier Labs; it includes marketing, processing equipment, intellectual property and years of extraction and formulation experience. SpeakEasy says the agreement will save them “significant upfront cost and years of learning.” Founder Marc Geen says: “The ability to perform top notch extractions and create industry-best value-added products takes more than just the right equipment, it’s as skill-dependent as growing world class cannabis... Years of practice, trial and error, adjustments and corrections until near perfection is achieved.”

DAVID WYLIE/the oz.

Marc Geen shows off the frosty looking trichomes covering drying flower.

“A lot of the infamous bud that’s been grown in British Columbia in the last 25-30 years has come from the Christina Lake area.” — Christina Lake Cannabis CEO Joel Dumaresq Land of BC bud Meanwhile in the Kootenays, Christina Lake Cannabis also had a successful year with their outdoor crop. Their plants grew seven to eight-feet—some as high as 11 feet—and almost as broad as tall. “It was a bumper harvest and a bumper year from a weather perspective—very, very dry,” says company CEO Joel Dumaresq. “Christina Lake is probably the best suited region in all of Canada for the growing of cannabis. In fact, that’s why a lot of the infamous bud that’s been grown in British Columbia in the last 25-30 years has come from the Christina Lake area.” Dumaresq says Christina Lake has a dry climate. It runs along the banks of the Kettle River, which floods every few years and creates fertile soil. Strong wind blows through the valley so the plants develop hardy thick stalks. The company grew cannabis on 18 acres this past season. “Being our first year, we wanted to experiment with some of the strains that we’re working with,” he says. “Next year,

we’ll dramatically increase the footprint.” Their inaugural harvest year produced 32,500 kg. The company beat their production targets by more than 44%, and plan to expand grow operations in 2021. They are now contemplating expansion to 100 acres in the Kootenays. They say that will ultimately bring their annual cultivation footprint to more than 88,000 kg of sun-grown cannabis. They also say that they could potentially grow some of their strains twice in a growing season. Every plant is individually potted to control water and nutrients. Of the four founders, three have been involved in both medical and legacy. They’ve been developing the genetics for 20-25 years, with 70-75 different strains specifically for outdoor growing. This year, they picked eight they felt were suitable to the conditions. Dumaresq says cannabis grown outdoors can be just as aesthetic as that grown indoors. “We would put a lot of the strains that we’ve developed outdoors this year up against any indoor product and challenge somebody to tell the difference,” he says.

Even a mayor is invested There are about 50 people employed there, and Dumaresq says they are the largest employer in the Christina Lake area. He says the company has raised about $20 million and is well-positioned financially. Many investors are locals, he says, including the mayor of Grand Forks and the head of the Regional District of Christina Lake. The company plans to develop white label products and also sell under their own brand, primarily focusing on producing cannabis distillate oils by extracting from their 2020 harvest. Dumaresq says the trend is picking up to grow outdoors. “Our cost is a fraction of what the indoor and greenhouse producers produce at,” he says. “If you look at the costs of heat and light and everything else that goes into indoors, and you look at the costs outdoors, there’s such a massive cost advantage that one would really have to ask why somebody would invest further in indoor or greenhouse production.” okanaganz.com

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Steep learning curve Get the most from high tea by learning some of the brewing basics By Jenny Neufeld Tea has always been a great way to perk up in the morning or to unwind at the end of a long day. Its versatility lends itself well to the addition of cannabis for different effects. Unfortunately, some folks don’t seem to understand how to brew tea very well. I have been a daily tea drinker for many years. The rhythms and ritual of brewing and enjoying a good pot of tea either by myself or with others is something that brings me both joy and satisfaction. The cannabis teas that I have tried have been good, the flavours are delicious and the effects are delightful. However, I think they could do better with how they instruct you to brew it. Brewing a pot of tea has more variables than sparking up a joint. Using a cannabis tea is not just about the buzz, you need to show some care for the tea itself to create the fullest experience. This means you need to consider the temperature of the water and for how long you are steeping the bag. There seems to be a one-size-fits-all type of approach taken when writing steeping instructions. I have some thoughts and recommendations for the teas I have tried that I hope might be helpful to you and increase your enjoyment of these products. On all of the Haven St. teas it recommends that you “squeeze the tea bag thoroughly with a spoon.” I would not suggest this approach. It can make your 20

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tea more cloudy in appearance with the release of tea dust into your pot that can create a less pleasant drinking experience. This has also been said to show a lack of sophistication in brewing technique. Of course it is your pot of tea and you are welcome to do this if you prefer a stronger brew and it isn’t black tea. Squeezing a black tea bag releases extra bitter tannins which don’t taste great.

JENNY NEUFELD PHOTOS/the oz.

Haven St. Rise No. 550 Tea has a beautiful hue to it.

An extra long soak will also do the same job as a squeeze, without that risk of your tea bag losing integrity which could totally ruin your pot of tea.

Haven St. Drift No. 450, left, and Haven St. Peace No. 150.


Haven St. Rise No. 550 Tea This tea immediately sets itself apart visually with its unique turquoise colour. The flavour, while subtle, is as fresh and bright as the colour, fruity with citrus hints. I shared the pot with my partner and when we tried this variety we found ourselves feeling that THC buzz but with a mellow sleepiness as well, which while not unpleasant was unexpected given the name and lack of CBD. The directions on the packaging states to steep at 90 C (194 F) for three to five minutes. I would recommend steeping it at a lower temperature somewhere in the neighbourhood of 71 to 82 C (160 to 180 F), similar to green tea because mate (which is the basis of this blend) tends to be naturally bitter and this helps keep the flavour balanced. As a bonus if you add a little lemon juice to this tea it changes the colour from blue to purple! Haven St. Drift No. 450 Tea If you are looking for a warm and comforting experience, this tea is the one you are looking for. With the rooibos base and chocolate notes, it was rich with a bit of a spice, but not overwhelming. The effects were a relaxed and happy high that

Brewing 101 Here are my best-practice tips for the Haven St. teas: Haven St. Rise No. 550 Tea Water: 71 to 82 C (160 to 180F) Steep: 3-4 mins Haven St. Drift No. 450 Tea Water: 93 to 100 C (200 to 212 F) Steep: 5 mins Haven St. Peace No. 150 Tea Water: 80 C (176F) On the package, it says bring water to boil and let cool for 60 seconds, if you do bring water to boil you should wait five minutes for water to cool to the correct temperature Steep: 3-3.5 mins — Jenny Neufeld

allowed for feeling present with reduced inhibitions. I would highly recommend this one for an evening indulgence. The brewing directions were exactly the same as with Rise; steep at 90 C (194 F) for three to five minutes.

I would suggest a hotter water temperature. In fact, taking the water to a full boil, 100 C (212 F)—or just below at 93 C (200 F)—works for rooibos which makes brewing this tea easier than others. A good long soak, will give you the fullest flavour so go for the full five minutes, unless you are not a fan of a stronger brew. Haven St. Peace No. 150 Tea When you open the packaging for this one you are immediately enticed by the floral fragrance. This continues to deepen as the tea steeps and creates a very pleasant aroma while sipping. The floral sweetness hinted at from the scent mixes pleasantly with the subtle vegetal notes the green tea imparts. The lack of caffeine makes this the perfect cup for an afternoon or evening treat. They were thoughtful enough to reduce the water temperature guideline for this green tea and it is on point at 80 C (176 F). They maintain the three to five minute steep time though. Green tea is best steeped for a shorter length of time because longer times release tannins from the tea giving it a bitter taste, therefore I would suggest only three to three and a half minutes.


Last hit

Cannabis + Sports = healthier athletes By Dean Millard It was a punishing game for Gus Milldeyko. He dished out crushing checks—received his share—fought once and set up the game-tying goal in a comeback win. He also blocked a few shots, one that left a puck sized welt on his arm that was already turning black and blue during his postgame interview. Boarding the team plane, he bypasses the beer and hard liquor and instead grabs a CBD drink and a THC infused muffin loaded with terpenes myrcene, caryophyllene and linalool. The five-hour flight is a mixture of laughs, relaxation and a deep sleep as his body recovers from the beating it took and allows him to be ready two nights later. The above story isn’t true, yet. But it could be a peek into the future of athletes. While today’s players are much healthier than even the turn of the millennium, alcohol still flows freely. As do prescription pain pills. History is littered with athletes who became addicted to alcohol, pills or both in some of the worst cases where it took their lives. Others get left behind when the game ends and are forced to fend for themselves to feed the addiction their sports ‘pain remedy system’ created. Giving athletes the options to consume THC for post-game pain relief is much more effective than beer, vodka or any number of pain pills from ibuprofen to oxycodone, and a whole lot healthier. The NBA stopped testing for recreational drugs during their Disney World bubble. The league continued that policy when the season tipped off in December. The NHL still tests its players for marijuana, but action is only taken if there is an unusually high amount of THC. Even then the player isn’t punished, but rather given advice and a treatment plan if warranted. The NFL has a tiered system in place ranging from a referral to a substance abuse program for a first offence to a one-year ban for a sixth positive test. Major League Baseball only tests players for recreational drugs if they have ‘reason22

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able cause’ and the punishment is usually a fine, unless the player is clearly violating the rules. The research continues on CBD and muscle recovery, but the world is taking notice. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has taken CBD off of its banned substance list as well as raised the amount of THC an athlete can have in their system to prevent a competitor from testing positive due to casual use. This alone shows the ‘wheel of cannabis’ is turning around the world. Could we soon see athletes like Connor McDavid or Ezekiel Elliott promoting CBD drinks? Both represent Biosteel—the top brand in sports nutrition drinks—which was recently purchased by Canopy Growth for the purpose of combining Biosteel’s already successful formula with CBD. While the regulations in Canada prevent celebrity endorsement right now, the United States is a whole different game and there are whispers that Elliott is poised to be the Biosteel-CBD face when/if the NFL ever allows its players to use it. Connor McDavid was asked about cannabis before the 2019 season and the

generational star was open minded. “I say this more talking about the CBD side of it, obviously: You’d be stupid not to at least look into it.” Biosteel was co-created by Mike Cammalleri after his 15-year NHL career ended, but it was during his final season with the Edmonton Oilers that he discovered CBD. The veteran of more than 900 games was looking at healthier options for a back injury and some younger teammates suggested cannabis, which led a team doctor referring him to a cannabis doctor and his first CBD prescription. He’s never looked back since and is hoping to help others by marrying Biosteel and CBD. During his playing days Cammalleri witnessed players use all kinds of pills. He told TSN in an interview about one teammate who combined oxycodone, Vicodin, Ambien and beer, calling it ‘The Perfect Storm.’ Allowing CBD and THC could part those storm clouds and give athletes a healthier outlook on life. Dean Millard hosts The Cannabis 101 Podcast. Find him at podcastalley.ca.


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Profile for theounce

the oz. | vol. 1, iss. 2  

the oz. | vol. 1, iss. 2  

Profile for theounce
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