the oz. | vol. 1, Iss. 5

Page 1





Flying high

Q&A The creator of the Tōk case

Fun & Games

Pistol and Paris’ Dylan King is bringing his own unique style to the industry



High Spirits crossword puzzle





VERNON 102, 2500 53 AVE





FEATURES Inside NitroTin

How a tiny dose of nitrogen helps keep BC craft cannabis fresh in a can

Pistol and Paris

With their helicopter and hockey bags, they wear the history of BC bud on their sleeve

Pot paradise

British Columbia cannabis growers are learning to thrive in the competitive landscape

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Fun & Games


Last Hit


An original crossword puzzle with a cannabis theme

Darcy Nybo on aging gracefully and her homemade salve

Writers in this issue David Brown Simon Gerard Jenny Neufeld Darcy Nybo David Wylie To advertise


We chat with the creator of the sylish Tōk Case

Editor In Chief David Wylie


Maven Brands, Abba Medix, 420 Okanagan Network


Associate Editor Jenny Neufeld

First Hit

Pineapple Buds, Keef, White Rabbit OG, Organnicraft, and more!

We support legal cannabis!

Publisher David Wylie Media + Co.

DEPARTMENTS Kris Kross performed while I smoked my first joint

Volume 01, Issue 05 Winter 2021

On the Cover

Dylan King is the founder of Pistol and Paris. Photo: Craig Barker

Okanagan Z PO Box 41080 Winfield South Lake Country, BC, V4V 2L9 © Copyright 2018-2022 All rights reserved

Get the latest from the oz. by subscribing to our Friday newsletter — sign up at Find our publisher on Instagram at the handle @okanaganz; official brand account is Listen to our By The Ounce podcast through your favourite app. We are on YouTube and WeedTube at By The Ounce


First Hit | the oz.

My first joint ever

Featured Contributors

By David Wylie

Simon Gerard

The first time I smoked a joint was during a Kris Kross concert at Canada’s Wonderland. It was the early 1990s and I was a young teenager. A friend of a friend pulled out a badly rolled one-paper pinner during an intermission at the Toronto-area amusement park’s outdoor venue. The sun was setting and Kris Kross was coming to the stage to get us to ‘jump jump.’ I remember the weed’s distinctive smell. The three of us took some tokes—Me, Aaron, and Neil. I’d been smoking cigarettes for a few months before this, so I knew to inhale. “Hold it in,” Aaron told me. I did. I recall the tickle and the uncontrollable urge to cough. I remember laughing and jumping to hip-hop beats. I’m not 100% sure I felt high that night, but I do know I had a lot of fun. The following years are a blur and I don’t actually recall the second time I smoked up. Or the third. Or fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh, really. I do remember enjoying weed, very much indeed.

“Flying in the Pistol and Paris helicopter was a memorable experience, getting to take in all the natural beauty of Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. As a marketer who appreciates local, craft products as well as hyped brands, this company grabbed and held my interest.”

What’s it like getting high? Getting high feels like another plane of being. It’s sensory and messes with the perception of time. Cannabis experiences also vary and evolve. Weed is personal. It runs the gamut of emotions and effects, everything from euphoria, confusion, enlightenment, inspiration, anxiety, fixation, space, comfort, healing, giggles, etc. Weed is a million different things to a million different people. Like good days and bad days, we have good highs and bad highs. Back in the day, we didn’t have the overwhelming amount of weed options we do now or the in-depth information about THC, CBD, and terpenes.

You just smoked what you got. Sometimes it was good; sometimes it was bad. If you’ve had a bad experience with weed, it doesn’t mean it will be like that every time. It helps to experiment and find what works. You can try a different way of getting high—drinks, edibles, oils, vapes, joints... An unfortunate trend There’s a strong consumer bent toward buying the highest THC percentage flower available at the cheapest possible price. Frankly, it’s bad for selection. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking high THC flower. I like to get a good buzz on with the best of you. What I’m saying is, not everything has to be over 20% THC. Lower THC cannabis and balanced CBD ratios are amazing for people who are new to weed or suffer from anxiety. There aren’t many high-CBD, low-THC (or even 1:1) flower offerings on the market. I was asked recently about what I think is missing from the legal market. That’s a no-brainer: More BC-grown craft flower that’s rich in terpenes and ultra high in CBD. That’s the type of weed that I would jump for. David Wylie is publisher of the oz. In high school he played guitar and video games a lot while stoned. Reach him at

Simon Gerard is a marketer and writer with a focus on the cannabis industry.

Mason Klein “As a long-time advocate for quality cannabis, working in the industry is a dream come true. Meeting the teams that keep this field alive has been a breath of fresh air. I’ve been a fan of NitroTin technology, so to see behind the scenes was truly enlightening!”

Mason Klein is a videographer who specializes in marketing through visual storytelling.

David Brown “I love speaking with farmers of all kinds, from cannabis to kale. It’s inspiring to see so many farmers starting to integrate small crops of cannabis into the mix and I look forward to more of these products being available in BC.”

David Brown is a writer and advisor in the cannabis space, and the creator of StratCann.


Reviews | the oz. OG Cola Sweet Justice

Acai Retreat Field Trip

Gelato 33 Lot420

This is the cannabis cola I’ve been waiting for since legalization. Close your eyes and imagine cracking open a can of Coke then taking a gulp… that’s what you get with OG Cola by Sweet Justice. Taste, carbonation, and colour are all on point. The logo is eye catching on the rust-colour can. There’s 355ml inside, with 25 grams of sugar. My main criticism is that about half the cans I’ve gotten so far have the duty sticker close to (and in some cases right under) the opening—so your lips touch the sticker when you sip. A little more care could go into how they are placed. OG Colas contain 3.5mg of THC per can, so depending on your tolerance, it may just be a nice accompaniment to a joint or vape. I have a lower tolerance with edibles and found the mix of THC and sugar definitely had an effect, which kicked in quickly. This is already a repeat buy for me. The cans have the equivalent to 5.1 grams of dried cannabis, which means you can only buy five at a time. — DW

This little bottle holds a bright burst of fruity flavour with the chill effects of CBD. The Acai Retreat juice shot’s yellow-coloured label is the perfect way to encapsulate the sunny feelings this 60ml drink invoked for me. With 20mg of CBD and a 2mg hint of THC, this hit the spot after a long day at work to wind down at home. While the dusty rose colour of the juice itself beautifully set up the flavour expectations. I enjoyed its tart sweetness that was almost citrusy, though definitely berry filled. According to the ingredient list, the beverage includes a combination of pear, pomegranate and cranberry concentrates along with a cannabis emulsion (of course) and natural flavours— including acai. The ‘Acai Retreat’ name is pretty accurate when considering the flavour as I felt the acai was hiding behind the cranberry. The cannabis was also hiding in this one; though I did note a smidgen of bitterness, but certainly not enough to make the drinking experience unenjoyable. In fact, I wished the bottle was a little bigger. — JN

Gelato 33 is a fine treat. It’s a feast for the eyes with one large and lovely bud. The smell is sweet. The flavour is fantastic. And the high is satisfying. Lot420’s Gelato 33 is a high-THC hybrid, born of Sunset Sherbert and Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies. Dominant terpenes are myrcene, pinene, and terpinene. Personally, I felt a powerful high that surprised me initially; as I got more acquainted, it mellowed into a relaxed feeling. The highlight was the gorgeous bud that pulled apart pleasantly. After a few spins in the grinder, it poured out slow and sticky, like molasses. It burned slow and white, with a distinct taste. — DW

Pineapple Party Pineapple Buds

BC Strawnana Flowr

Sourz Gummies Spinach

It truly is a Pineapple Party. Grown in the Okanagan—this indica from Pineapple Buds is some pretty good stuff. It smells like pineapples—sweet and fruity. There are four relatively evensized buds that are all nicely manicured. Some purple leaves stick out, giving it a nice tinge. This is craft weed and you can tell. It has great moisture, dense with a little give when pressed. The buds are frosty. It’s nice to handle and grinds up fluffy. It rolls up nicely, too. Put out under the BC Black label from Joint Venture Craft Cannabis, Pineapple Party is 25.4% THC and 2.51% Terpenes. This is pretty weed and got me good and stoned. Would buy again. — DW

I had high hopes for BC Strawnana. Kelowna-based Flowr promises consistently exceptional cannabis. At over $40 an eighth, it should be exceptional. However, BC Strawnana is no standout. All Flowr cannabis eighths come packed in a distinct and classy heavy blue glass jar. Flowr sets some pretty high expectations for its weed through its packaging and advertising. But what’s inside the Strawnana jar doesn’t match the branding—a handful of small buds along with some shake. There’s a subtle smell that’s got a sweetness to it, though muted. A cross of Banana Kush and Strawberry Bubble Gum, Strawnana has dense light-green buds. It clocks in at 25.6% THC. Total terpenes are 2.94%, with a profile of beta-caryophyllene, beta-myrcene, and limonene. What Strawnana lacks in looks, it does make up for in personality. This strain hits extra hard. Still, I expect more from such a premium brand. — DW

The Sourz gummies from Spinach might more accurately be named Sweetz. The packaging is bright and fun, with the subtle use of a second colour at the bottom and back. This alludes to the double-fruit flavour of the edibles inside. The logo is huge, matched by the size of the THC label—as per Health Canada regulations—which sets it apart from a lot of standard branding. Each package has a total of 10mg of THC and 16g of sugar in five dualcoloured gummies, which are shaped like the Spinach ‘S’. These delightful sugary treats melt in your mouth and come in three flavours: • Blue raspberry watermelon— subtle sweetness; balanced raspberry and watermelon flavour; indica • Strawberry mango—more tart than expected; strawberry comes through clearly, not much mango; sativa • Peach orange—quite sweet; orange is more forward with a blush of peach; 1:1, with 10mg of CBD in addition to the THC They cost about $6 a package. — JN

Reviews | the oz. Orange Tingz Pistol and Paris

Sage N’ Sour MTL Cannabis

Classic Sodas Keef

The sweet aroma of two large sticky buds is lovely on the nose when opening Orange Tingz by Pistol and Paris. It’s like smelling fresh tangerines. One of the most popular offerings by sales in BC consistently in the legal market has been Tangerine Dream. This Orange Tingz is like a danker craft version of that strain. The high hits hard and fast, with 24.6% THC and 3.1% terpenes. Orange Tingz is a hybrid, a cross between Slurricane and TMAC. It’s high in limonene (0.77%), trans-caryophyllene (0.50%) and ocimene (0.49%). The moisture is also listed, at 10.6%. This is quality stuff. Originally bred by Mother Labs, it’s grown in Summerland by JBuds. JBuds Craft Cannabis is an Indigenous owned and operated micro license holder. The family-run farm has 750 sq. ft. grow rooms in an indoor facility that can house 504 plants per room. — DW

One of the buds in my ½ Z of MTL Cannabis Sage N’ Sour was 3.5 grams… and almost perfectly heart-shaped. Opening the big jar, I was greeted with the sativa’s bright candy citrous smell. MTL’s nomenclature is a ‘½ Z,’ but you may also know it as a ‘half-ounce’ or a ‘half-O.’ Whatever you call the quantity, it deserves repeating, this is lovely weed. It is awesome to see great quality large formats becoming mainstays in the market. This was fresh, packaged less than two weeks before hitting BC stores. Just over 14 grams poured out of the jar, with one extra-chunky bud, three others over a gram and many more nicesized and nicely manicured buds. It certainly measures up to the quality of their eighths. This lot was 23.4% THC and 3.7% CBG. The terpene profile includes terpinolene, caryophyllene, limonene, ocimene, and b-pinene. Its genetics are S.A.G.E. crossed with Sour Diesel. — DW

If you’re looking for old-school flavour that pops, Keef’s classic sodas are bang on. The Keef brand is already a staple in the US, where the company has a wide variety of drinks. Two of its ‘classic soda’ lineup are now available in BC: Orange Kush (similar to Orange Crush) and Bubba Kush (a root beer). They’re both 10mg THC. The buzz hits a little slower than some other drinks, but it sets in nice. Two get me good and toasty. These drinks were a little flat, particularly the orange drink. I would enjoy drinking these more regularly because they are fun and tasty, but the price is prohibitive at $8 a can. The price of drinks needs to come down for the category to be more than just a novelty. — DW

Master Kush Ultra Smoker Farms

Gummies White Rabbit OG

Platinum Grapes Organnicraft

This is weed that reminds me of the good old days. Smoker Farms’ Master Kush Ultra brings me back to when I’d open a Ziplock bag, stick my nose in it, and breathe deeply. It’s gas. The legacy strain dates back 15 years. It’s a cross between G-13 and OG Kush. Packaged in NitroTins through Joint Venture’s BC Black, the buds are beautifully trimmed. The piney and peppery smell punches the nose. My eighth was made up of one larger bud and a few smaller ones. They’re light green and frosty, with pronounced red pistils. The buds are dense and hard, but break up into a fluffy pile that rolls nicely and burns well. The taste really comes through in the vape. Smoker Farms does the indica-dominant Master Kush Ultra strain justice. This is their flagship cultivar. The grower has his roots in legacy and you can tell from the weed. It’s 26.7% THC with 3.34% terpenes—though the specific ones aren’t listed on the label or in the product description. — DW

White Rabbit OG won’t lead you astray with this selection of gummies. The first three flavours released are Craft Sour Peach, Craft Blueberry, and Raspberry White Chocolate 1:1. Each variety comes in a bright pastel coloured bag to complement the four gummies within. Produced under the Pure Sunfarms umbrella, all are vegan, gluten free, and made with real fruit. Craft Peach gives the most classic cannabis edible gummy vibe. Each sugar-coated treat will give you 2.5mg of THC, which you can taste right away, but that cannabis tang gives way to a delightful true-to-the-peach flavour. Raspberry White Chocolate 1:1 has a vanilla taste followed by a raspberry blast. The 2.5mg of THC is balanced with 2.5mg of CBD in each gummy. Craft Blueberry is my favourite. These dark purple jewels go without the sugar coating and instead boast a rich jammy flavour with depth. These also offer 2.5mg of THC per gummy and have very little trace of the cannabis taste. These are a great adult candy. They have full, complex and distinctive flavours, plus a cannabis edible buzz that’s chill and happy. — JN

Platinum Grapes is one of the most aesthetically pleasing and distinct smelling offerings yet. This gem is grown by Organnicraft in Vernon. It is ripe with a fruity and gassy scent. There’s no keeping this weed a secret as the smell can fill a room just by opening the bag. The buds are beautiful. They have a stunning platinum tint and grind up it into lovely purple, green, and orange hues. My one hangup is I’d like it to come in glass instead of a bag. This is a high-THC cultivar at 27.66%. It also has 3.78% terpenes, especially high in trans-caryophyllene, limonene, and farnesene. There is a wealth of information on the package for the weed nerds, including the grower and a number of harvest facts. This is one of my all-time favourites. ­— DW

News | the oz.

From pets to craft, True Leaf now Maven For years, North Okanagan-based True Leaf was known for hemp pet products. In 2021, however, the company re-branded itself as a craft-cannabis focused business­— even renaming itself Maven Brands to mark its transformation. Now the licensed cannabis producer is getting set to launch a program to provide path-to-market services for micro-cultivators that will operate from its 19,500-square-foot facility in Lumby. “Our new brand, Maven, will strengthen the company’s vision to bring the best in craft cannabis to market with less cost and complexity,” says Andrew Gordon, vice-president of strategic growth. “We’re embracing a partnership model that allows craft producers to focus on what they love while trusting in the support of industry professionals to realize their objectives.”

DOJA releases 7 new strains A variety of new cannabis strains grown in West Kelowna are being sold across Canada. Okanagan-based DOJA has released its 91K and its Sour Kush. They are Indica-dominant strains that are hang-dried and hand-finished. Also, five new limited-edition strains are available in 3.5-gram formats, including: Crescendo, Cali Kush Cake, Black Cherry Punch, Sour Glue and GMO Garlic Breath.

Kelly Olsen, vice-president of Canopy’s global flower business, says DOJA Okanagan Grown Ultra Sour has sold particularly well for the company. DOJA was founded by Trent Kitsch, a serial entrepreneur who’s gone from pro-baseball, to founding underwear company SAXX, to real estate and construction, to establishing a winery, and of course producing cannabis. DOJA was acquired by Canopy in 2018.

Charlotte’s Web Okanagan grown One of the most well-known names in CBD has completed its first ever international hemp harvest—and it’s in the Okanagan. Charlotte’s Web says its first Canadian crop includes its flagship “CW1AS1,” a US-patented cultivar that’s used in its full-spectrum “Original Formula.” The company says it will use the harvest exclusively for medical cannabis patients in Canada. Based in Denver, Colo., Charlotte’s Web cultivars are on Health Canada’s approved list.

420 Okanagan Network meet-up The 420 Okanagan Network met for the first time in fall 2021. Nearly 50 people gathered at True Leaf Brands in Lumby, BC, for one of the first cannabis industry events in the Okanagan since COVID-19. Attendees came from as far away as the Lower Mainland and the Kootenays.

The inaugural meeting was organized and sponsored by True Leaf, Bluewater Cannabis, The Entourage Collective, and the oz. Attendees heard from three cannabis producers: Dunn Cannabis, Pineapple Buds and Living Cannabis. Future networking events are in the works for different communities in the valley.

Abba Medix helps veterans access pot of benefits Many of Canada’s veterans rely on medical cannabis to help with pain and PTSD. One of the Canadian companies with a mandate to help is Abba Medix, an online medical cannabis marketplace, which carries high-quality products provided by different LPs—including strains grown by MTL Cannabis specifically for veterans. The company caters to veterans by making them feel comfortable, speaking their language, and taking them through the whole process, from start to finish. Alex Kroon is President of Canada House Clinics and Abba Medix, companies that are

both part of the parent company Canada House Wellness Group. “Many veterans and their families struggle with life after service, particularly those with PTSD,” he says. Veterans are very involved with Abba Medix and Canada House. For example, Glen Coyle, a retired corporal, is the company’s veteran advocate across Canada House and Abba Medix. “He keeps us focused on what is best for

veterans,” says Kroon. Veteran Kush and Vet Star Day both work well to provide relief for mental health and pain. “Beyond unique cultivars, our clinics were founded by veterans, and we have grown since 2013 to service over 3,500 veterans,” he says. Kroon says Veterans Affairs has many programs, but often veterans are not aware of what they are eligible for, or how to access those benefits. It’s also important that veterans do therapy and other programs in conjunction with medical cannabis. He says they help direct patients to those who have experience working with vets.





Q&A We spoke with Jeff Herr, creator of the Tōk Case What is the Tōk? The Tōk is a purpose-built case to carry your lighter and three doobies with style. It’s a secure place for your pre-rolls machined out of a solid block of aluminum. What was the design process like? The early days are always fun and exciting. Then comes a lot of work. The first concept was a napkin sketch from a fellow friend and metalworker named Matt (@moustachemetalworks). Originally, the lid was removable and it held five doobies and no lighter. The first prototype was a straight-sided box. It was pretty ugly and surprisingly heavy! Thinking about the manufacture was a big part of the design process. There were many revisions to end up with what we have now. How are they made? The Tōk is machined out of a one-pound block of solid aluminum. Machining is the process of cutting metal away as opposed to welding or casting. It results in more precise and stronger parts than other processes. How is cannabis part of your life? My passion for the Tōk is in manufacturing it, I don’t smoke. I do like edibles though. It really takes a very small dose for me so legalization has been great; it gives me all the dosing knowledge I need and it’s so cool to experiment with all the new offerings! Which Tōk is your favourite? A machinist friend (and mentor) was



really impressed with my work and told me to try clear anodizing (the process that hardens the aluminum and gives it its colour). He says that clear really helps well-made parts stand out. I had a batch of slides clear anodized as a test and they do look awesome! Especially with the black body. I have no product photography done yet but can’t wait to be able to offer them to the public! Who did you have in mind when you made it? The buddy I mentioned previously, Matt. He’s a weird and wonderful guy, in the best way possible. He’s a welder and really








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Jeff Herr makes Tōk cases out of blocks of solid aluminum. demanding of his equipment. At the same time, he appreciates fine craftsmanship. He’s carried his Tōk for several years now. The original idea was his. I make a special version for him that he sells at his shop. What are your plans for the future? I would be so stoked for the Tōk to go big time. I truly love the manufacturing side of it and the challenge of growing that production and establishing better and better processes really excites me. I’m excited to open up more of the story and people behind the Tōk on Instagram (@thetokcase) so people can see that, and I can give credit where credit is due!


Fun & Games | the oz. High Spirits by David Wylie ACROSS 1. DeLorean time traveller 4. Inexplicably gone, perhaps Capt 8. Pursuer of Pan 12. Another I.D. 13. A little godly 14. Rolly-polly bear 15. Studly socket 18. Scentless bean poison 19. Left is goofy 20. Other kinds of strokes 22. Yell of girlish fright 24. Running Apples 25. Booze central for BC gov't 28. Flexible, fuzzy 35. Princely boxer, "Teke ____" 37. Secret code 38. Lovecraft's Cthulhu 39. For sucking 41. Are you ready yet? 43. Stylish pocket flair 44. Made dollars 46. Gross exclamation 48. "____", just killed a man 49. Disappear in a poof 52. Hollywood Gateway, arr. 53. More missions, characters, etc. 54. Home of well-known Anne 56. Make it awkward 62. Cat's tongue 66. Two-part peninsula 67. Smelly, often in a jar 69. Drug cost law 70. Homophone: made u flinch 71. Small job economy 72. Bear lairs 73. Life changing underwear 74. Epist. from Paul DOWN 1. Concentrates; gestures 2. Historic site in Labrador 3. Singular Creole fritter 4. Shakespearean agitation 5. In Scottish, weed 6. Divine power












35 39
















53 56



42 46



31 38










23 28



18 20


8 14






55 62











7. Artsy tropes, e.g. Handmaid's Tale 8. Dog's hangover cure 9. Never again 10. Ravenous Viking god 11. Immanuel of maxims 14. Taking cash for an imaginary product 16. So far up to 5G 17. For outback driving 21. Next story, news slang 23. Dynamite brother 25. Forgetful person's curse 26. Canadian COVID celeb. 27. Small hee-haw 29. Clown weapon 30. Come in 31. Early indulger in outlawed plant 32. Prickly pear, tastes like okra 33. Joker: "This town needs an _____" 34. Chill out

*Go to for the solution


36. Willie Nelson friend, "____ Cochran" 40. Splash of Scotch 42. Shock's companion 45. Changing lenses is a snap 47. www encryption 50. Suite creator tools; Indesign, etc. 51. Infamous Roman 55. Informal contract, esp. money 56. Barely got by 57. Second helping 58. Over two metres tall, "Le____" 59. Horse of sunny disposition 60. Scarface cocaine kingpin 61. Domo Arigato for the hit 63. Strong desire 64. Get a handle on 65. Afroman's excuse 68. Honda scooter


Nitrogen packed

Story by David Wylie & Photos by Mason Klein

Popping open a NitroTin is a unique experience

Eric and his son Eric Jon in the showroom.

Cannabis companies are turning to NitroTin to package their products


here’s nothing quite like opening a NitroTin lid— lifting up the tab to punch a hole in the seal then pulling the pliable lid up to get that first sniff. If you’ve tried the latest and greatest in BC-grown craft cannabis, you’ve likely opened something packaged using equipment from NitroTin. Eric Marciniak runs the Kelowna-based equipment supply company alongside his wife, son, and daughter. “What we do here basically is bring in and re-purpose equipment that will give long-term shelf life to really good bud,” says Marciniak during a tour.

“You can crack a can three to four years later and it’ll be the same as the day the bud went in.” Using a specialized high-precision ‘doser’ that ensures just the right amount of nitrogen is added to the can before it’s sealed creates the perfect inert environment for increased shelf life while maintaining the quality and integrity of the flower. “We just want to put a micro dose of nitrogen,” he says. “It’s pushing the air out so it’s an inert environment.” Once sealed, there is less than 8.7% percent oxygen in the can.

“It’s going to pause wherever the product was when you put it in there, so if you put it in there with nose, it’ll come out with nose. This is like a vault.” — Eric Marciniak


Using nitrogen in packaging reduces oxidation of chemical components and inhibits the growth of mold, yeast, and aerobic bacteria

This is considered MAP technology which can allow for years-long shelflife as long as it’s kept at an ambient temperature. “We just follow what science tells us for food,” he says. “It’s going to pause wherever the product was when you put it in there, so if you put it in there with nose, it’ll come out with nose. This is like a vault.” The equipment is all food grade approved and can be upgraded to attain EU GMP standard if required by the producer. The process is fully automat16

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ed and CSA approved. The tinplate-steel cans and plastic lids are completely recyclable. The plastic lid also has a gasket in it and reseals after it’s been opened to keep freshness. The showroom displays several types of equipment that can be part of an automation line, including machines that sort, weigh, seal, and label. In the back, a technician works to prepare a rolling machine that’s about to be commissioned to make pre-rolls under Joint Venture’s BC Black label. “There’s big demand for pre-rolls and

the labour cost is killing everyone. This is the way to do it,” says Marciniak. Joint Venture, which packages and distributes cannabis grown by BC micro-cultivators, uses several pieces of equipment from NitroTin. Marciniak has a personal connection to cannabis. He was a contracted military trainer for years and has worked with veterans back from service and suffering from pain and PTSD. Marciniak was helping develop genetics through a medical licence, growing his own varieties in the Okanagan.


FRESHNESS A packaging system specifically designed for cannabis and pharmaceutical-grade products provides a unique process of canning that seals and preserves the contents.

SHELF-LIFE With year-round fresh product, our clients can release products with confidence. If your product is in an industry where shelf life is minimal. NitroTin changes everything.

PRESERVATION One of the greatest advantages that nitrogen packing achieves is allowing a company to strategically play the market. Preserved back stock will be the key to seamless sales and distribution.


Clockwise from top left: a technician works to set up a joint-rolling machine for a NitroTin customer; cannabis that goes into a can will stay fresh for years; Eric Marciniak has a personal connection to cannabis; automation can help alleviate stresses. 18

the oz.

He also co-founded the Kelowna Compassion Society to help make medical weed available for cancer and pain sufferers. In some ways, life was more simple when cannabis was distributed only to friends and neighbours, he says. Now there are more logistics involved in getting the product into people’s hands. “We’re shipping across countries, across continents,” he says. A growing list of companies are using NitroTin for their packaging, including Truro Cannabis in Nova Scotia. “We really have been trying to go the extra mile. We come from the times where you grew weed and sold it in baggies. Now it’s quite different and we have to pay attention to supply chain management issues. We don’t want to replace people. We want the consistency,” he says, adding some producers are having a difficult time finding enough employees. Marciniak says cans could be used to pack pre-rolls, edibles, and concentrates, as well as flower. “We’re hard-working pot people. We can’t afford all the extras. We need to be efficient.”

“Automation equipment can help alleviate those stresses from our clients,” he says. “We know our target markets. We basically want to be as helpful as we can.” Marciniak’s wife helps the administrative side, while his son, Eric Jon, is the lead tech. Daughter Lyn does PR with the retailers. “I’m the guy who makes sure the machines work,” says Eric Jon. “We get them in and I do a pre-commissioning on the machines before we send them to the processing facilities and install them.” He also does graphic and web design for the company after graduating from the Centre for Arts and Technology in Kelowna. “It’s nice to have an easy to get along with boss. When I was younger, I hid it from my dad and he hid it from me,” he says with a laugh. Marciniak is also planning to package for his own cannabis brand next year, called Notorious Smokes. “We’ve seen way too many tomato guys come over,” he says. They were growing tomatoes because that’s what they were good at. I grow tomatoes too and I love them, but it’s not like growing a pot plant.”



When packaging cannabis, there are typically seven stages required: 1. A manual or custom filling system that sorts cannabis by weight and fills cans 2. A doser applies a drop of nitrogen to each can, displacing oxygen 3. A seamer applies the lid to the can and securely seals the container 4. A side label applicator applies a label to the side 5. A child-resistant lid capper is applied as the top casing 6. A label is applied to the top by a top-label applicator machine 7. Cans exit the machine and are packed into boxes by staff

Bird’s-eye view The helicopter and the hockey bags send a direct message: Pistol and Paris founder Dylan King is proud of BC’s cannabis legacy. King has decades of experience in the cannabis space, and he and his team are experts on BC bud. By Simon Gerard


istol and Paris sounds more like a luxury fashion label than a cannabis brand. The company, which launched in spring 2021, was initially thought up by Dylan King and his wife for a potential apparel line before finding a fit with his plan as a craft cannabis curator. The founder stands out for his history, insight, and energy for BC bud—and also his helicopter. In today’s social mediasaturated world, brand founders and their stories are vital to cut through all the noise. Passionate people plus quality products make a memorable brand. Only three years into legalization, it feels like there are an unlimited number of LPs to pick from. Even when narrowed down to craft and local ones, it can be daunting to keep track and try all the recommendations you can get from friends or online. Pistol and Paris—with its name and origin—is compelling even before you try it. Founder Dylan King invited me along on his regular commute to work. We didn’t do the interview while stuck in bridge traffic. Rather, he pulled his Pistol and Paris branded helicopter out of his hanger for a quick direct flight from his home in Abbotsford to


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Dylan King and his wife Brittany founded Pistol and Paris. Vancouver Island. A shining July morning saw us touch down at a small airstrip outside Duncan. King was there to visit Verte West, one of his micro LP partners. King is a second-generation grower, taking after his mother who raised him on Quadra Island. This small lush island with around 2,500 inhabitants is an escapist’s dream, renowned for fishing, hiking, and other forms of outdoor appreciation. Like other notable areas in and around Vancouver Island, Quadra has a long history with hippie culture and outdoor growing. This island has its own hippy commune, who were

seen as squatters by locals. This infamously saw local vigilantes topple and burn hippie teepees and cabins in 1975. In high school on Vancouver Island, weed continued to be part of King’s life through friends who grew cannabis. He moved to Langley in the ’90s and worked for his dad in construction. Around 2010, he got his own medical licence and started to grow it himself. Knowing legalization was inevitable, he says he couldn’t wait to represent BC bud in the recreational market. Currently, Pistol and Paris don’t grow their own. They are curators of top-quality BC bud.

King says he knows and sees many transitioning legacy growers and current craft growers facing the same challenges. He built Pistol and Paris as their solution. They partner with small, craft producers to bring their flower to market when it’s not feasible for them or they’re not interested in building a brand. That way, they can fully focus on growing, with Pistol and Paris handling the front end of the business. Another vital partner that helps King get these craft growers to market is Joint Venture Craft Cannabis, a B.C.-based cannabis processing and co-packing facility. “Ben (from Joint Venture) is an awesome guy who’s helped me along the way with both packaging and getting listed with provinces. We share a lot in common, our past and future plans, our ambition and vision. In the future, we’ll sit back and look at the obstacles we faced and how far we’ve taken craft bud,” he says. With producers located throughout BC, having the option to visit them via helicopter helps ensure important faceto-face time with both growers and their plants. Combining their specific expertise, shared knowledge, and passion for the plant, Pistol and Paris and their growing partners have experienced success right out the gate. Photos: Craig Barker

“My goal is to get that market share we’re losing to the legacy market and let consumers know there are brands like mine that have pivoted over to the legal side. Supporting legal cannabis is a win for the provinces, retailers, consumers, and brands like Pistol and Paris.” — Dylan King

High expectations Their hot-selling strains have high THC, nice terpenes, and their certificates of analytics on their website to prove it. They also include the moisture percentage, which is a nice touch. After some growing pains with their first release, the two products that followed sold out right away and set Pistol and Paris pretty high up in the ranks of BC bud. The high-quality, low-production nature of these craft strains created scarcity that added to the hype via social media and word-of-mouth—similar to the hype of limited-drop Nikes, minus the deliberate scarcity, annoying shopping bots, and overpriced resellers. “Before I buy any lots, I need to see the THC, terpenes, certificate of analytics and see what everything comes in at,” says King. “I make sure there’s no pesticides or poisons used. I look at those numbers, but I’m very interested in the smell, the look of the buds. There are so many factors other than THC. In the old-school days, you open up a Ziploc, a jar and give it a smell, then look and feel the pieces. But now you see the label first.” King did say THC is still critical, in spite of these other factors: a high THC percentage is demanded by many consumers, and perhaps more importantly, is expected by the provinces. With his history in the legacy market and friends and partners in the legal market, King feels for current and upcoming craft producers and their stack of challenges. Despite a strain checking off every box for quality, if the THC comes under 20%, it’s unlikely to get picked up by the BC Liquor and Distribution Branch. If it did make it to shelves, it’s expected to get less attention from consumers. 22

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Then there’s dealing with excise taxes, pricey packaging, and other factors that keep the margins extremely tight for micros. King relayed sad stories of beautiful craft BC bud being destroyed due to not hitting a high enough THC percent and not being able to sell at a profitable price. According to Health Canada data, nearly 500 million tons of unpackaged flower was destroyed between 2018 and 2020 (and that’s not including the millions of packaged cannabis products destroyed). “With the legal market, it’s generally high THC strains that are desired; there’s not much room for exotics, which are usually lower than 20% THC,” says King. He says exotics are very challenging to bring to market, even though they were popular in the legacy market. “That’s a huge frustration for legal growers. I’d love to see more exotics get their chance in the legal space. In the legacy market, where you can smell, see, and touch the buds, exotics can do as well or better than gas.” He’s also personally dealt with challenges his growers face, being on the long road to establishing his own micro facility himself. In November, King moved one step closer to achieving that major milestone, getting municipal approval from the District of Kent for a micro in the community of Agassiz. Visiting Verte West Verte West’s team, including Tyler, Derek, Brent, and Erik, focus purely on the plant. Traditionalists, they grow in soil, no pesticides, hang dry, hand trim—and they really care. King notes that while they’re flower-first, they understand pricing, packaging, and other business elements.

Photos: Simon Gerard; opposite page Pistol and Paris

Pistol and Paris fly to help

Dylan King had a unique vantage of the flooding devastation in BC’s Fraser Valley this fall. The founder of cannabis brand Pistol and Paris is known, in part, for flying a helicopter. A commercial pilot, King normally commutes by air to visit the Pistol and Paris label growers, including JBuds in the Okanagan. King used his unique form of transportation to help people left stranded by flooding and mudslides. For two days, he shuttled desperate people from Hope to the Lower Mainland, so they could get home after their traumatic ordeals.

King says the stories have stuck with him. “There’s a lot of people in a lot of tough situations,” he says. “They were so desperate to get out of Hope. I didn’t charge one person anything. I wanted to give back.” The scenes he saw were sad and upsetting. “There’s so many places underwater, so much livestock dead. It just makes you realize how fortunate we are to be safe and dry,” he says, encouraging people to make even a small donation to the relief effort of their choice. — David Wylie


Latest from Pistol and Paris Pistol and Paris has new strains and formats on the way to BC and other provinces. Blackberry Breath, a hard-hitting Indica-dominant hybrid will arrive in three 0.5g prerolls. Coming in the same format and grown in the Okanagan, is Legendary Larry. Look out for Orange Tingz pre-rolls. Black Tuna, grown in Port Coquitlam, BC, by a small micro producer. The genetics came from Covert Valley Nursery in Nanaimo. It comes in 3.5g “tuna can” packages, another reminder of the name’s origin. “Black Tuna” was the code word used by notorious smugglers to call the cannabis they smuggled from Colombia to the States in the 1970s.

It was a learning experience to just listen to King and Verte West talk. Hearing about growing, pricing, the competition, the BC market with all its challenges and opportunities. Verte West grew Black Triangle for Pistol and Paris, an indica-leaning hybrid, crossed between Triangle Kush and ’88 G13 Hashplant. A high 26.9% THC, 2.4% terps, and 11.4% moisture featuring b-myrcene, b-caryophyllene, limonene— it’s a mix of spice, citrus, and earthiness. Their first 150 cases sold out on the first day. “I tell everyone I run into dealing in this space, they’re (Verte West) so involved in the market. Many growers aren’t. On top of growing premium product, they know what’s selling, they know

pricing, they’re constantly looking for killer strains out there. Love those guys, they really make my job easier.” Orange Tingz from JBuds Pistol and Paris’ first big hit came this summer, with Orange Tingz, grown by Okanagan-based, Indigenous-owned JBuds. King spoke very highly of their team and it’s clear consumers have the same opinion. All three batches sold out quickly and got plenty of word-of-mouth through the BC cannabis scene, which very few products manage to pull off. A sweet citrus hybrid of Slurricane and TMAC, you’ll find limonene, trans-caryophyllene, and ocimene with 24% THC, 3.1% terps, and 10.6% moisture.

Dylan King spends time with the team from Verte West and checking out the upcoming drop from Pistol and Paris. 24

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Photos: Simon Gerard; opposite page Craig Barker

Pistol and Paris knows how to make an impression. The founder’s story, thoughtfully curated products, and respect for the culture and artisan producers makes it a legit brand in a sea of manufactured competitors. Drops like Black Triangle (pictured) grown by Verte West show the care taken to bring quality into the legal market.

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Weathered Islands is located in Texada Island, BC.


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Best place on Earth to grow By David Brown


utdoor cannabis growers in BC have finished their season, brought in their crops, and are now waiting for their products to make their way to shelves across Canada. The province is home to a few dozen outdoor growers of many different sizes, from small micro growers with just a few hundred plants to farms with thousands of plants over several acres, and everything in between, growing with an array of methods as diverse as the farmers behind them. This year, like any, brought numerous challenges, with record-setting temperatures during the summer and a somewhat late, wet spring. But BC’s growing community of outdoor cannabis farmers say

Photo: Weathered Islands

they are excited by the direction they see the industry going and the different products that can be made from their cannabis flowers. One newer cannabis farm located on Texada Island, Weathered Islands Craft Cannabis, finished its first crop in September, and already has dried flower on shelves in Ontario. They expect to have pre-rolls on shelves in BC by the end of the year. Weathered Islands is a micro cultivator, meaning they can grow with a limited canopy space of 200 square metres, a scale Jeff Gontovnick, one of the three owners of the business, says is manageable by their small team. Weathered Islands is a three-person team of Collier Quinton, a long-time cannabis grower and resident of Texada, his sister Camille Quinton, who manages the busi-

ness and handles marketing, along with Gontovnick, who is focused on business development and regulatory compliance. The outdoor licence is actually their second cannabis production licence, the first being a small cannabis nursery licence just down the road that they received in early 2020. “We had originally intended to apply for a micro licence first, but then decided to do the nursery,” explains Gontovnick. “So it’s always been in the back of our minds, and once we got the nursery set up, we realized there was still an opportunity to have a little more space to grow for flower. The micro seemed like a good fit.” Although some are still weary of the federal licensing process, he says he and his team found the process relatively easy, only taking a few months from submission to licensing.


“Going through the licensing process already with the nursery, it was pretty smooth. Having an idea of what to expect helped. Application to full licence was about four and a half months, which we’re really happy with.” They keep their costs down by keeping things very simple, he says, and working with the unique nature of their remote farm. “We’re completely off-grid. We grow in the ground, not pots, we use local inputs like seaweed to feed the living soil and harvest the power of the sun.” Although they grew a handful of varieties this year, their main focus was on a cultivar bred by their master grower Collier Quinton, Sweet Texada Lavender, coming in at just over 20% THC, a threshold many provinces use to determine price and quality. “It’s a good example of a high yielder that is great outdoors and is consistent. Our harvest was done by late September, which allowed us to bring everything in by the end of summer,” says Gontovnick. While their Sweet Texada Lavender will only be sold in Ontario initially, they will also have pre-rolls in BC in the coming months, their Texada Coastal Blend, made from a blend of other cultivars they tried this year to complement their Sweet Texada Lavender. Both products, says Gontovnick, will be the first outdoor micro flower on shelves in Canada branded under its own name (at least one other outdoor micro made it to shelves earlier this year, but branded under a partnership with a processor). Focusing on one main cultivar was key, he says, in ensuring they could find a buyer in a large province like Ontario. Having a handful of other strains allowed them to also learn more about other varieties within their genetic library, while still being able to find a buyer for them as a blended pre-roll. For Colin Davison, the director and president of McIntyre Creek Cannabis, part of a 16,000-acre ranch in Oliver, limiting the number of varieties they grew, even with their much higher plant count and yield, was equally important. “A lot of companies make the mistake of not having a large enough batch to make it commercially viable, and we learned that lesson last year,” says Davison. “So we’re making sure we are harvesting enough to 28

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make it attractive for our clients.” Although last year McIntyre Creek grew 12 different varieties for a total of 24 batches, this year he says they focused on six main varieties and three limited varieties for just nine batches in total. Unlike Weathered Islands, which hang dries their cannabis for dried flower, McIntyre Creek immediately freezes its cannabis upon harvest and then stores it in a frozen state to sell to processors for live resin, live rosin, hash, and other products. This process, explains Davison, is appealing for such large harvests of outdoor cannabis because it allows them to focus less on achieving a benchmark THC level. “Advances in processing technology has brought on more abilities for outdoors to compete because they can really mine the terpenes or certain cannabinoids that aren’t THC, like CBN, and really create new markets for outdoor while not putting so much importance on that 20% THC being

the only factor,” says Davison. “Processing technology is streamlining more for outdoor growers and creating a lot of good opportunities. Getting to that magic number of 20% THC is less relevant if you can grow high terpene or high cannabinoid product other than just THC.” Now on their second season, Davison says they doubled their harvest from last year, bringing in about 35,000 kg of fresh frozen, freeze-dried cannabis, or the equivalent of about 7,000 kg of dried flower. About half of that gets sold to processors in BC, he says, while the other half goes to processors in Alberta and Ontario. BC’s Interior, he argues, is one of the best areas in all of Canada to grow cannabis outdoors. “We have very dry summers, we get an extended dry period in the fall. We don’t get a lot of snowfall. So we can get into the field earlier and stay in the field longer. Location is probably the number one advantage we have compared to our peers in terms of outdoors.” In addition to being an ideal location for growing, he says the Southern Interior offers opportunities for farm tours, very similar to winery tours in the region. Davison says he hopes that with changes planned for next year that will allow growers to operate a retail store on their farm— often called cannabis farmgate—that he and other farmers in the area could hold tours of the region where people can come and see how farmers grow their cannabis before purchasing some of what they have grown there on site. “We’re definitely looking forward to farmgate in British Columbia,” says Davison. “That would be a much needed benefit to our outdoor business and a much needed avenue to bring our products into a retail setting.” “It’s such a great opportunity for outdoor growers,” he continues. “If you look at wineries, having a membership and people come out to the winery, that would be a great way to link up with other outdoor growers, have tours and be able to cross-market our farms together.” Meanwhile, another group of outdoor growers in BC’s Kootenay region have teamed up this year in a cooperative effort to bring their own products to market, especially with the concerns around ensuring large enough batches that can find buyers in the provincial markets. Photo: Weathered Islands

The program, dubbed the Rose Buddies, involves seven licensed outdoor micro cultivators all growing the same cultivar to be purchased by and sold through another outdoor BC grower, Rosebud Cannabis Farms. Che Leblanc, the owner of Rosebuds, says that the intention behind all of these different farms growing the same variety of cannabis is to maintain small-batch, craft integrity, while still benefiting from a larger, combined harvest to contribute to Rosebuds product lines that will be sold into the provincial retail systems. Leblanc’s Rosebud Cannabis Farms is a standard cultivator with no size limit

on their potential production space, but he says they have stayed relatively small themselves to ensure they can maintain the same kind of small-batch quality his micro cultivation partners operate under. Like McIntyre Creek, Rosebud and their partner farms all freeze their cannabis immediately after harvest to best preserve terpenes and cannabinoids for processing into extracts like live resin and live rosin. All the farms grew the same variety, Sarah’s Secret, developed by Leblanc. Jimi Holland, owner of Wholeland Enterprises in Kaslo, BC, one of the partner farms growing Sarah’s Secret for Leblanc, says being able to all grow the

same variety is a big advantage. “It makes sound economic sense to combine our crops because there’s strength in having a larger quantity to distribute,” says Holland. “It would be quite hard for a micro like myself who has only 30-35kg to easily enter the marketplace. That was a huge impetus around Rose Buddies joining forces so that we can create something that we can go to market with and have some leverage.” Once licensed, Holland says one of his major concerns was figuring out how he would sell his product after hearing this was a challenge for other outdoor growers, especially micros.

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Aging gracefully with cannabis By Darcy Nybo Way back in the 20th century, I smoked pot now and then. I didn’t like the fog that enveloped me, and while the giggles were fun, it didn’t appeal much to me. Now, here I am, in the 21st century and I am grateful for all that this wonderful little plant supplies. A decade ago perimenopause set in. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it’s a stage in a woman’s life when nouns disappear and are replaced by adjectives and adverbs. Fortunately for me, my daughter understood what I was saying when I would ask her to bring me the whatchamacallit from on top of the thingamajig next to the whatsit. I am still to this day grateful for her intuitive descrambling of my words. Also at this time of life, night sweats start. For those of you unfamiliar with them, it’s when you are sleeping soundly, minding your own business, and your hormones decide to play teeter-totter and mess with your internal thermostat. You get to go from normal to burning up and sweating like you’re on a humid beach near the equator in three seconds flat. Fortunately, by the time menopause turns into post menopause, you get your nouns back; however, it’s also when hot flashes and mood swings really ramp up. If you’re like over 60% of women on the planet, you also get insomnia. Some women never get to this stage, but if this describes you or someone you know, relief is in sight. That relief is good old cannabis in all its glorious forms. A few years ago, just before legalization, at the urgings of a friend, I ended up in a doctor’s office getting a prescription for CBD and THC oil. The first time I took the 5:20 (5mg THC to 20mg CBD), I took it about 90 minutes before bedtime. Sixty minutes later I was so relaxed. Thirty minutes later I was sound asleep and didn’t wake up until morning. 30

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It was amazing to wake up and feel refreshed! I also noticed my hot flashes were less and my night sweats came maybe once a night instead of five times a night. Once I find a good thing I research the heck out of it and get as much out of it as I can. Thus began my journey from hesitant medical cannabis user to grower, recipe creator, and spreader of good news. There are a few things to note about edibles and pot if you are a woman of a certain age. First of all, pot brownies are great; however, the chocolate in them ups your chances of hot flashes and night sweats. My advice is, find something else to bake with that has less sugar and no chocolate. I recommended sugar-free cookies. I’ve suffered from headaches and neck pain for many, many years thanks to a couple of car accidents and the dreaded sitting at the computer all day. I wanted something to take down the inflammation and in turn, take away the pain. I found several recipes online for cannabis salves and immediately went out and bought the “Magical Butter” machine. My first batch was quite basic. Lots of buds and leaves (use as much of the plant as possible), coconut oil, Shea butter, beeswax and a little essential oil.

It worked, but not quite as well as I wanted. I did more research, as well as using some of my own knowledge about plants that have healing properties. My second batch included other natural anti-inflammatories, including rosemary and comfrey (also known as bone knit). It worked better, but still only gave minor relief. I wanted more. On a return visit to the pot doc I talked to the nurse there and she told me I needed a carrier in order to get past the skin layer. She recommended Voltarin, even the over-the-counter type. So off I went to happily research more about herbs and pain relief. Batch three was the winner! I added in a small amount of Voltarin and some Traumeel (about 1 tsp. each). I also put in some olive oil to make it smoother. Then I tossed in small amounts of other anti-inflammatory and healing herbs, like the rosemary, thyme, bee balm, calendula, the above-mentioned salves and a few drops of frankincense, myrrh, peppermint and geranium essential oils. You don’t need a high THC count in your plants to make the salves. In fact, I found the closer the balance (THC to CBD) the better the results. Save your high THC Kush for other things. I have injured myself a few times since I discovered the healing properties of salves made with cannabis. Every time, whether it be a simple strain, or a torn bursa, the salves have made the healing process less painful. As for the relief from menopause symptoms, I still take the 5:20 oils. I do go off them every few months (as recommended by the doctor) in order to reduce my need to take increasingly larger doses. It’s important to note products made with cannabis do not cure everything, nor do they miraculously heal things. They do, however, make the whole process of being an older woman, much easier to deal with. Darcy Nybo is an experienced writer, editor and publisher based in BC. Reach her at

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