It ain’t easy being green Many roadblocks for those trying to be sustainable
The future is bright for Dunn Cannabis INSIDE
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FEATURES Smoking in style
10 high-class accessories that will uplift your herb ritual
Volume 02, Issue 02 Summer 2022 We support legal cannabis 19+
Publisher David Wylie Media + Co.
Dunn’s growing name Logan Dunn is making moves and getting set for farmgate
Three perspectives on whether the industry can ever be green
Fun & Games
Burning Question crossword puzzle
MTL launches LowKey brand; Pop-up ‘Wheat Dispensary’
Simply Bare BC Organic Sour Cookies
Velvet Kavanagh on getting arrested over a single joint
Writers in this issue Velvet Kavanagh Jenny Neufeld John McDonald David Wylie
Crunch Berries, Deep Space, Spicy Dill Pickle Gummies
Associate Editor Jenny Neufeld
Design Kristine Kalva
DEPARTMENTS Cannabis tourism is about to take off
Editor In Chief David Wylie
On the cover
Logan Dunn is founder of Dunn Cannabis Photo: Sessions Highlife
the oz. PO Box 41080 Winfield South Lake Country, BC, V4V 2L9
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FIRST HIT | the oz. Featured Contributors Kristine Kalva “Being from Latvia where cannabis is more illegal than you think, working with the oz. sure feels like the high point in my personal journey in the normalization of cannabis, and making my grandma roll in her grave.” Paulina Martinez, the production co-ordinator at Dunn Cannabis, can be seen through a window designed for tours at the BC micro-cultivation facility.
Cannabis tourism is the new frontier Cannabis tourism is becoming the There’s also an article by an talk of the town. academic in the news section First we saw licensed cannabis advocating for licensed cannabis producers get the attention after consumption spaces. Canada legalized in 2018. Then, as Cannabis tourism is about cannabis brick-and-mortar retailers normalization and it should stand joined the fray from alongside wine tourism, province to province, we as the two are very alike. saw the spotlight turn that During wine tours you direction. have the opportunity to Now attention is drawn see the vineyards and to tourism. There are lots to experience tastings. of mentions of tourism in Some wineries even have the weed zeitgeist. In fact, restaurants where they it’s a notable part of this pair their wines with very magazine. dishes created from local David Wylie For example, our main ingredients by talented publishes the feature on Dunn Cannabis chefs. oz. He’s written covers Logan Dunn’s Why shouldn’t it be the for some of farmgate plans, which same for cannabis? the biggest include events at the Cannabis will newspapers in micro with live music and undoubtedly play a Canada. food trucks. significant role in tourism If you peruse the ads, you’ll see in the near future. Why fight it when we’re working with Okanagan we can embrace it? Let’s lead the way Cannabis Tours on an exclusive for other nations who are following trip around the picturesque South the path that Canada has trail blazed. Okanagan region of BC. email@example.com
Photo: John McDonald
Kristine Kalva is a Kelowna-based graphic designer, specializing in branding and packaging.
John McDonald “How often do you get a front-row seat on such a significant societal change as the legalization of a psychoactive drug? Bring on the popcorn.”
John McDonald toiled in mainstream media before turning his curiosity to cannabis
Velvet Kavanagh “We often talk about the stigma society has about cannabis. But what about the internalized stigma of decades of having to hide what we do? I recount an experience 30 years ago, and how that shaped what I do today.”
Velvet Kavanagh helps craft cannabis companies build their legacies with her business, Phenologic.
REVIEWS | the oz. CRUNCH BERRIES by Sweetgrass Cannabis
DEEP SPACE XPRESS by Canopy Growth
VARIOUS SODA POPS by XMG
This weed has some oomph. Crunch Berries by Sweetgrass Cannabis is a 28.7% THC Hybrid flower. Its potent smell, a mix of sweet and sour, fills up the room when you open the bag. That gives a hint as to how hard it hits. The nice looking, light green buds are firm and frosty. They grind into a lovely light green consistency. I lucked out with a fat eighth, coming in over 3.8 grams. While this smoked a bit harsher than expected, the high was phenomenal and I caught myself just staring at the flowers. Its buds are FVOPA organic certified, grown in living soil, hand trimmed, and slow cured. Sweetgrass received their licence in May 2020 and grow in a 6,000-squarefoot micro-cultivation and processing facility in the Kootenay region near the town of Ymir, BC. — DW
Full disclosure: I did not like the Deep Space drink by Tweed. However, I was assured that the gummy version of Deep Space ‘tasted great!’ So against my better judgment I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and bought a single 10mg THC gummy. I can now say: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me; these taste just like a gummy version of the drink. Bamboozled! Shaped like a LifeSaver, it has that weird off-putting cough syrup tang that tastes a bit familiar, like cola. And I can only describe the texture as gluey sugar. At over $7 a bag, Deep Space gummies are up there in the cannabisgummy price range—with many budget ones around $4. Any other gummy product around $7.50 is better on numerous fronts: including more than one gummy per bag, better tasting and textured treats, and perhaps even a rare dose of a lesser-used cannabinoid, like CBG or CBN. The bitter taste of distillate in my mouth at the end of chewing this gummy sums up my thoughts. — DW
All four varieties of XMG sodas suffer from the same flaw—they taste a little… off. There are already a couple of established players in the cannabisinfused pop market and they are both excellent tasting products, Keef and Sweet Justice. Hexo’s brand, XMG, has the largest variety of soda pops, with Cola, Cream Soda, Root Beer, and Orange Soda. All four smell great and the carbonation is on point. It’s the taste that falls short. XMG Cola tastes kind of like a cross between Coke and Canopy Growth’s Deep Space drink, in that it has a cough syrup-like taste. The taste actually gets worse the closer you get to the bottom of the can. XMG Cream Soda is quite sugary. It comes close to a traditional cream soda flavour with its vanilla notes. It still has a bitterness that throws it off. XMG Root Beer is the most bitter with distillate taste out of the bunch. XMG Orange Soda is sickly sweet. These drinks are the worst tasting entry into the soda pop category (other than Deep Space, if you would classify that as cola). — DW
MORE REVIEWS theounce.ca
SOCIAL TONICS by Cann
SPICY DILL PICKLE GUMMIES by Sunshower
PLATINUM COOKIES by Palmetto
Look no further than Cann for a sophisticated sipper this summer with their social tonics. All three varieties have a citrus base paired with an herbal twist that creates a fresh and classy cocktail vibe. They come in adorable little colourful cans, each with unique art to reflect the flavour within. In yellow, you get Lemon Lavender which greets you with a delightful scent. It tastes like a light lemonade with a gentle lavender finish. The Grapefruit Rosemary is pretty in pink but lacks the balance of its counterparts. The rosemary comes on strong, leaving only a little room for the grapefruit to sneak through. Lastly, in a bright orangey-yellow can, Blood Orange Cardamom is surprisingly rich without feeling heavy. The bright, sweetness of the orange is the perfect compliment for the mildly spicy bite of the cardamom. They’re perfect to pop into a cooler for a party or picnic, with only 2mg THC and 4mg of CBD per can. They come in four-packs.
I’ll admit, this is the most apprehensive I’ve felt toward any cannabis gummy flavour to date. Sunshower’s Spicy Dill Pickle gummies are one of the first savoury style gummies to enter the cannabis space. They smell just like dill pickle chips—and while my mouth was watering, my brain was confused. At first taste, the gummies are sweet from the sugary coating, but after a few chews, pickles and spice take the driver’s seat. The colour is very much pickle green, with a dusting of sugar. As with other Sunshower gummies, the texture makes for a satisfying chew without feeling too rubbery. Two gummies come in the package, each at 5mg THC for a total of 10mg per bag. They’re a fun novelty, but are perhaps a little too far out in left-field to eat regularly—unless you really like pickles.
Pre-rolls have been one of the most popular categories, and Palmetto’s Platinum Cookies manage to stand out. The No. 1 job of a pre-roll is to burn well. These burn perfectly to the end. All 10 joints are rolled consistently, not too tight and not too loose. At half a gram each, they feel comfortable to hold. I struggle with the choice of packaging. On the one hand, using plastic in this climate feels tone deaf. Still, the hard case is thoughtfully designed and easy to open and close. It’s highly portable and it’s durable, so I’m already re-using it for my own rolled joints. Platinum Cookies from Palmetto is good flower. It smells sweet and the pulls go down easily without giving too much of a tickle. It’s a 23.7% THC Sativa. The pre-rolls are inside a cardboard insert that’s a little like a fry holder; it lets you get at the joints easily. There’s also a Boost pack inside the container.
BACK IN THE DAY THIS WAS ILLEGAL. To grow it you had to be passionate and discreet. LEGALIZATION WAS A WELCOME RELIEF. IT MEANT WE COULD RELAX, LET OUR GUARD DOWN,
FOCUS SOLELY ON THE CRAFT.
Build a product with higher quality control
WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE.
Increase our production while ensuring consistency. Not just a different looking baggie, but logos, websites, AND A PROUD VOICE TO SPEAK TO OUR CUSTOMERS, OPENLY AND PUBLICLY.
TO BRING THE BEST OF THE STREETS TO THE SHELF.
This is new territory for us all.
THIS IS THE MODERN STREET.
FUN & GAMES | the oz. ACROSS 1. 1/8 teaspoon 5. From BLK MKT, Lee Ann _____ 10. 'The ____ Spring' (protests and uprisings) 14. Cute puppy sound 15. You agree to do 16. German title 17. Torch-shaped BC archipelego 19. Alberta energy company 20. Kills 99.9% germs 21. In cannabis shops (and restaurants) 23. Beast in Wizard of Oz books 24. Iconic music magazine 28. Sibling to bro 31. 19th letter of the Greek alphabet 32. Dictionary for slang 33. Requests 35. "Oh, ____!"; reaction to an insult 38. Powers remotes 39. Question a stoner might ask 44. Add up to get 45. Competition to finish fastest 46. End of workweek acronym 47. Bob Marley instructions to a woman 49. Present tense plural of 'to be' 51. DIY-inspired fashion label 52. Memorable sprawling wildfowers 57. Shark Tank guest, Rohan ___ 58. Defunct car brand 59. Edmonton Arts Centre; sounds like a place to get a double-double 63. Ready to eat fruits 65. Pushed on a Walkman 68. Tech website started 1994
Burning Question 2
69. Capital is Nairobi 70. Braised beef recipe, ____ bucco 71. U.S. literacy test 72. Russian spacecraft 73. Notorious English pirate, John ____ DOWN 1. Indian rice and lentil dish 2. Visitors' game 3. ____ toi-même (Be yourself) 4. Man of only one word in Game of Thrones 5. Not your real hair 6. "That really hurts!!" 7. Florida city of TV's Vice 8. From out of this world 9. Hang on tightly 10. Sparkling water brand 11. Could describe MC Hammer's pants
*Go to okg.nz/burningquestioncrossword for the solution
12. Major and Minor in Tarot 13. No longer intact 18. Much 22. Certain kind of suspects 25. Sharp blow with a whip 26. Moon cycles 27. Distinct characteristic 28. Feeling down in the dumps 29. NGO for global sameness 30. Very tall building 34. Marijuana strain high in CBG 36. First black woman nominated for Best Director at Golden Globes, ___ DuVernay 37. Nut with its own pie 40. Hesitant agreement 41. Bubbly chocolate 42. he/___, she/her
43. TO pro soccer team 47. Discontinued Nerf swords 48. Gross verb 50. Asked of Brute in Julius Caesar 53. They are assigned 54. Cloud 9 associate; is also 8-Down 55. Black keys on a piano are made of this 56. How a hen covers eggs 60. Home of the Blue Raiders, uni. 61. Everything else is less 62. In your nose 64. When will u be there? 66. First people in Burma 67. Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge! director, ___ Luhrmann
NEWS | the oz.
A look inside the Shreddies ‘dispensary’ in Toronto.
Burns for 30 minutes You could soon be puffing Canada’s first legal two-gram cannabis cigar, a Buddy Homburg ‘Infused Cannagar.’ Brandolier Holdings says the product will be available in July, with rollout in BC, Alberta and Ontario. The cannagar is packed with THC, CBD, and CBG. It takes nearly 30 minutes to burn. It will be the first of its kind in Canada’s legal cannabis market. “We’ve waited a long time for equipment and minor cannabinoid availability to get here,” says Darren Darcy, Brandolier’s brand and product development lead. They’ll be produced by Motif Labs.
Shreddies taps into cannabis zeitgeist
They may not be puffed wheat. Still, Shreddies is taking its marketing to a new high. The global cereal brand latched on to the cannabis craze by opening a “Wheat Dispensary” in Toronto on Queen Street where people could taste “the ultimate edible.” The temporary storefront did not carry any cannabis.
Be Bold. Be Flavourful. We work hard to grow clean and flavourful cannabis. Reap the fruits of our labour. Select Pineapple Buds products are available in Alberta, BC, Ontario, and Saskatchewan Hawaiian Pineapple Golden Parfait
Our hand-picked genetics are grown with care
Hang dried and hand trimmed
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Clean, flavourful flower
Missing piece of tourism puzzle By Susan Dupej
early four years into the federal legalization of cannabis in Canada, almost all the pieces are in place for the growth of a robust cannabis tourism industry—except one. Cannabis tourism includes the variety of activities, events and places that are part of any vacation or travel plans that incorporate cannabis. What’s missing are the rules around consuming cannabis socially in public settings, highlighting a broader issue about cannabis legalization in Canada. My recent research on the cannabis industry suggests that integrating cannabis consumption into tourism will have positive social impacts toward normalization, acceptance and tolerance of cannabis. Re-framing a once-demonized substance as a legitimate recreational resource, tourism can play an important role in challenging stigma. Similar to findings from the United States, preliminary Canadian market research around cannabis travel point to untapped economic opportunities for incorporating cannabis into travel experiences. Cannabis tourism can include a variety of services and experiences, such as tour companies, booking platforms, cannabis friendly accommodations, lounges, budtending services, spas, consumer trade shows, specialty travel guides, retail locations, as well as events, such as festivals, comedy shows and others. In all of its forms, cannabis tourism is an educational platform for sharing different types of knowledge about growing the plant, understanding how cannabis interacts with the body, legally purchasing cannabis, the different product types available, the different ways to consume cannabis and the cultural context surrounding cannabis in different locations. If the iconic coffee shops of Amsterdam have taught us anything it’s that the ability to purchase and consume cannabis in a lounge-type setting, without fear of reprimand by the authorities or judgment by the general public, attracts tourism. The ability to legally consume cannabis in public for social and recreational Photos: Contributed
purposes offers timely opportunities for businesses in the tourism and hospitality industry hit hard by the pandemic. Yet, a regulation gap has prevented the development of spaces in which people can responsibly consume cannabis products. In order for the cannabis tourism industry to move forward in a socially responsible and sustainable way, regulation is required in the area of cannabis consumption. Closing the regulatory gap around cannabis consumption requires two things. First, legislators must set aside outdated, uninformed and mistaken ideas that associate cannabis with deviancy and illegitimate behaviour. Education has a significant role to play changing perceptions. Second, regulation around consumption must be thought of as an extension of the cannabis supply chain in Canada. Similar to the legal production and sale of cannabis, spaces of public consumption can be regulated through licensing. Obtaining a license would enable a business to offer patrons the option of legally consuming cannabis on premises. One level of hospitality licensing could include the on-site consumption of pre-packaged foods and beverages, which would allow an individual to purchase an edible at a café or lounge and consume it at the same establishment. Another layer of licensing could address temporary events, such as concerts and festivals, with designated outdoor consumption areas for combustibles. Licensing also needs to address infused food and beverages prepared and served by restaurants. Regulations are a great way to promote Canada as a safe destination to experience cannabis and entice the global travel audience. Beyond economic benefits, regulating cannabis consumption supports the government’s own objectives of reducing risk and supporting public health. A vibrant cannabis tourism industry in Canada is being held back by a lack of clear and meaningful rules. Dr. Susan Dupej is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Guelph in the School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management. This story appeared on theconversation.com theounce.ca
Prohibition-era branding tells LowKey story MTL Cannabis has added a new brand under its umbrella, called LowKey. LowKey has two strains to offer out of the gate: Apple Fritter (Sour Apples x Animal Cookies) and Amnesia Haze (Haze x Landrace Sativas). They’re officially named ‘Dessert’ and ‘Haze.’ There’s a big niche in the market for eighths that ring in under $30. However, MTL is priced at about $35 an eighth, says Karim Rahill, sales director with the Montreal-based company. “We didn’t want to have MTL Cannabis with different price points; we wanted to keep the MTL brand always at that same price level,” he says. “We decided to come out with a brand where we could sell cannabis at under $30 an eighth. We’ve got some beautiful weed coming very soon.” The new branding is intended to tell the story of prohibition, with feathers, shiny beads, and cocktail dresses. “It’s our story. What we went through, and what we’re able to do today,” says Rahill. “Before legalization we had to keep everything low key. We still enjoyed cannabis even if it wasn’t legalized, like back in the ’20s and ’30s when alcohol wasn’t legalized. “In prohibition, there were the tunnels, and you would get to
Apple Fritter from LowKey
a door, knock, and give a password. You’d be able to get in and have your party. Everything was low key.” LowKey’s packaging is educational with visual info on it about terpenes. Along with the cannabis company’s flagship Sage N’ Sour, MTL is about to release a new strain called Strawberry N’ Mintz, a high-THC Indica cross of Strawberry Guava and Kush Mints. “It’s a beautiful flower,” says Rahill. “It smells like strawberry jam.” It’s about 28% THC with 4% terpenes. — Editor
CANNABIS PRODUCTS AND VARIETY HAVE NEVER BEEN BETTER! LOCATIONS IN BEAUTIFUL OLIVER AND THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN PENTICTON
THE MOMENT YOU WALK THROUGH THE DOOR YOU’LL FEEL WELCOME BLUEWATER CANNABIS IS FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED
From the beautiful mural of the Okanagan by local photographer Douglas Drouin to the large framed photo of Kramer from Seinfeld … it’s the little things that make the experience memorable at Bluewater!
WE ARE COMMUNITY MINDED AND ARE PROUD OF BEING THE FIRST LICENSED RETAIL CANNABIS STORE TO OPEN IN OLIVER
HERE’S WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS HAVE TO SAY: IN PENTICTON 130 Nanaimo Ave W
“Great store, awesome prices, staff is amazing!” “Staff members are super friendly and knowledgeable” “So happy to have such a great place in our small little town!! IN OLIVER 6341 Main Street
10 high-class smoking accessories Whether you’re looking for a conversation piece or to add class to your smoking ritual, here are 10 designer accessories handpicked by the folks at Herbiture.com.
waterpipes. The artwork is showcased on the neck and base. ($199) ‘The Executive’ Grinder Milled from a solid aluminum block, this durable four-piece grinder shreds herb at an even consistency. It’s an essential tool for any smoker, with a layer that catches keif for later use. ($89)
Shine 24K Gold Papers If you love gold, treat yourself to this 24k-gold king-sized rolling paper. It combines edible gold leaf with a hemp base. The gold stays on the ashes making your ashtray sparkle. ($13) Marley Natural Walnut Wood Water Pipe Crafted from sustainably sourced black walnut wood, this hand-blown borosilicate glass water pipe makes for a smooth experience. ($239) Pulsar Rok Concentrate Vaporizer You can use concentrates and flower in this premium twoin-one electric rig. It includes a coil-less quartz cup atomizer for flavourful dabs and a coil-less ceramic cup for bud. ($269) Herbiture x Pure Pipes ‘The Manhattan’
These handmade pipes are each carved from high-quality olive wood (that can be up to
1,000 years old) by a German pipe-making artisan. ($179) Stundenglass Gravity Pipe V2 The world’s first gravity-powered, contactless water pipe uses kinetic motion activation, cascading water, and opposing airflow technology. No battery or motor is required, just a 180-degree rotation. ($549) Volcano Special Edition Gold Version This eye-catching Volcano has a 24k-gold finish. One of the best vapour experiences available, the German-engineered Volcano fills a balloon with vapour that can be stored for up to eight hours. ($799)
Marley Natural Crystal Ashtray A luxurious ashtray crafted from clear crystal and walnut wood, then finished off with a convenient metal poker for ash removal. The felt-lined base won’t scratch your table. Its wind-resistant design makes it great for smoking outdoors. ($89) RYOT Walnut Rolling Tray Handcrafted from a solid piece of walnut wood and finished with linseed oil for a rich finish, this rolling tray looks lovely on a table. The rounded lower edge makes it easy to scoop herbs into papers and bowls. ($69)
Keith Haring Water Pipe Legendary pop artist Keith Haring’s graffiti-influenced work adorns these
Pictured are the Marley Natural Water Pipe, Shine Gold Papers, Marley Crystal Ashtray, and ‘The Manhattan’ pipe
Life. Style. Designer accessories for an upscale smoking experience.
HIGH RESOLUTION | the oz.
Simply Bare BC Organic Sour Cookies
This Sativa-dominant hybrid from Rubicon Organics was born from Girl Scout Cookies and Sour Diesel. The fresh and perfectly moist buds glisten with crystal trichomes and give off a powerful aroma that is both chocolaty and gassy. — Photo: Craig Barker & Kyle LeGrow
COVER STORY | the oz.
Making a name Through key partnerships, distinctive cannabis, and modernization, Logan Dunn has built his BC micro into a national brand By David Wylie
ogan Dunn is looking forward to having you visit. He’s founder and CEO of Dunn Cannabis. The flagship micro-cultivation facility is located next to his home in Abbotsford, BC. Licensed in 2020, the micro is bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside. The affable founder and grower is excited when he speaks about hosting cannabis events, envisioning food trucks and live music as he surveys his property during an interview at the facility. Dunn has been planning for farmgate since the initial build—even including a room with a long window that a group of visitors could look through without having to don the required PPE to enter the cultivation facility. “This is a way for us to allow people walking in to see it,” he says. “I was anticipating farmgate would happen at some point, so let’s get ahead of it. And not just that, it’s nice to walk by a room and see it without having to go in.” While the room is currently being used as an area for propagation, it may eventually be turned into a flowering room so people can see bud. Dunn sits comfortably in the reception area. Behind him is a TV screen with a live view of plants growing in an Edmonton facility, dubbed Karma, part of Dunn’s unique partnership with BZAM cannabis.
Logan Dunn is an experienced craft cannabis grower.
Photo: John McDonald
We’ve got cultivars that are different from everybody else’s. We have strains that no one brings to market. We want to resonate with the guys that are experienced and let them know that black market-quality products are available in the recreational space.
— Logan Dunn
Dunn employs about 100 people throughout its operations. Their cannabis is hand-fed and hand-watered.
Photos: Sessions Highlife
Dunn also has relationships with a cultivation facility in Maple Ridge where they grow two of their well-known strains, BC Valley Gas and Karma. They have also been onboarding other micros to grow for them to help meet the increasing demand across Canada for their cannabis. There are now more than 100 employees at Dunn (including their partners). The BC company has so far seen strong support in Ontario, and they have several products in the province, including Pink Velvet #44, BC Valley Gas, and BC Secret Mintz. “We’re lucky we had excitement out of the gate,” he says. Dunn says the cannabis industry is a relational one. A good example is how Dunn’s key partnership with large cannabis company BZAM took root. Dunn says he connected with someone from BZAM through a regular Zoom call and podcast. They built a relationship and that started discussions on finding ways to work together, which has since come to fruition through some unique offerings, including a collab called ‘BZAM x Dunn.’ While Dunn says he loves growing cannabis, he got sidetracked with branding, logistics, compliance, and a whole slew of other industry concerns. Putting intense effort into the development of the brand can burn you out, he adds. BZAM has a large and experienced sales force that can reach stores in every province and create excitement. They also have the ability to help with other parts of the industry that can prove challenging for smaller cannabis companies, such as payment times and waiting on funds from provinces. Meanwhile, Dunn helps BZAM with legacy learnings and growing techniques. Dunn knows first hand the challenges micros face, including limited cash flow and lack of staff to take care of things like the logistics around working with provinces and getting SKUs in order.
“A lot of people have a schedule and just follow that Monday to Sunday,” says Logan Dunn. “We look at the plants and sometimes they tell us different things as they produce, and we make adjustments along the way.”
“They have a team of marketing people who follow through and really give the support to the retailers that we have a hard time doing as a micro because we can’t afford those tools,” says Dunn. “We execute and excel in growing, so let’s focus on that and let’s help our partners be better.” He says it’s a winning business model. Dunn says they needed to go back to their roots and want to partner with others who are focused on growing great bud. “There’s better producers coming onto the market every day. We have to be that premium producer, so we’ve really had to take a step back,” he says. In the current high-stakes world of cannabis, Dunn’s relationship with BZAM is an outlier. Not even longtime friendships with fellow growers are immune to a bit of friendly competition. Dunn says get-togethers with competitors can get a little quiet. “You don’t want to tell them everything you’re doing anymore because it’s competition,” he says. “I want to keep my secrets to myself.” Still, Dunn is building bridges. He wants to help other growers thrive alongside by providing tools and flexible arrangements for those interested in joining the fold. “We’re open to combo with a lot of small craft guys that are being back-burnered right now,” he says. Dunn has officially partnered with two micros, both located in the Kootenays. Having them grow under the Dunn brand increases output by a significant amount. “They’re all growing the Dunn genetics,” he says. “It’ll all come to our facility and then we work with our partners at BZAM to do the packaging. Instead of just packing up 30 kilos, they might be packing up 100 and we can hit other provinces and have that demand-planning in place for it.” 22
“We’re trying to expand our footprint.” Dunn says he’s had to adopt bigger-picture thinking when it comes to things like sharing genetics with other locations and partners. “It means the brand is growing and we’re growing. It couldn’t be done without finding the right partner.” Dunn has also leaned into automation to help them significantly increase yields. “This is hands down the future and it’s going to cost a bunch of money to do it but it’s absolutely worth it in every way,” he says. “We totally retrofitted this place to be smart, energy efficient, and Earth friendly. When we’re sleeping at night, these things are working for us.” However, clever practices don’t always include cutting-edge technology; sometimes it’s about working smarter. For example, Dunn demonstrates how they sort flower once it’s ready for packaging. Dunn, alongside his brother Reece Dowdy, uses a piece of equipment the size of a long kitchen table that works by fitting different sized buds through differently spaced bars. The buds drop into bins, sorting them for pre-roll, top-offs for jars, and the biggest, most beautiful nugs. Over the course of a day, this system can be used to grade 25 kilos. “We can also see if there’s imperfections,” says Dunn, as he trims a small yellow leaf off a large bud. The room is filled with the sweet scent of Frosted Fruitcake. “This is a really cool strain. No one has this. Consumers nowadays, they’re so picky. You have to make sure you do the best you can with the products.” Moving into the future, Dunn is looking beyond flower by tapping into BZAM’s resources. They’re planning their first extract offering, a Live Rosin vape. Photos: Sessions Highlife
Q & A | the oz.
Dunn Cannabis Our one-on-one interview with Logan Dunn, founder of Dunn Cannabis Why did you get into cannabis? I was a medical patient, I grew cannabis through the MMAR and ACMPR for a long time. I really enjoyed it. It was something I knew how to do really well. I knew how to manage that business. Once there was an opportunity with legalization to put small producers on the map, I was thinking about the Tweed days where they were discussing about being the first licensed producer in Canada; they had so much recognition from it. They were the No. 1 guys on the scene. They’re in the cannabis space in a big way today—maybe not in the high-end formats—but they still are a big player in the industry. I figured if I got involved in the craft space right at the beginning, then maybe we could be that recognized craft brand across the country. And I think that we are now. A lot of people know who we are and we are constantly evolving our position and where we are in the industry. Brands know about us. We offer help to a lot of people and give back to the other guys that want to get involved in the space too. It’s a big market. It’s not just for one company. How does your legacy experience factor in today? If you’ve ever been a good producer in the grey space, you know you’ve tripped already and you’ve stumbled and you’ve found a niche that works for you. That’s why you’ve continued to do it. For us, I’ve noticed that a lot of people who don’t know how to produce cannabis got involved in cannabis because they think there’s this river of money that’s never going to stop flowing. A lot of times these suits don’t really understand cannabis the way a grey producer does. It’s been a big disconnect with the industry between experienced growers and grey 24
Logan Dunn at his Abbotsford, BC, flagship micro. Behind him is a screen showing live video of the BZAM cannabis production facility in Edmonton, called Karma.
market producers that can have that relationship, that can talk to each other and understand, that can realize it’s not just the grey way—there’s a grey component to it when it comes to production, but there’s also a way to do business legally and properly. Being able to synergize with that group of people will advance you in this industry. We’ve been able to do that with our partner, BZAM. To be linked up with BZAM is a dream come true for us. They’re a private company, they’ve got a great team behind them, they’re supportive and we can work together to do some pretty cool things and build some new SKUs and brand awareness. Both our companies are really supporting each other as we move forward in the industry. What would you say is your mission? We want to keep the craft brand and name linked to the fact that you get quality, cared-for cannabis in the industry. At the same time, we want to expand our brand and make sure that we can supply people across the country, all the way to Newfoundland. That’s a big part of what our headspace is; we want to support ourselves, we want to
support other companies, and we want to make a name for ourself in the industry by producing some of the best product available. It’s been said you stand out for your gas and gelato strains; would you agree? We’ve got cultivars that are different from everybody else’s. We have strains that no one brings to market. We want to resonate with the guys that are experienced and let them know that black market-quality products are available in the recreational space. Tell us about your branding... I wanted something that people were going to be familiar with, strong. We worked with BZAM to touch up our branding. They can point out potential legal and trademark issues. It’s opened our eyes when it comes to how we want it to look, whether it can reach the States at some point. That’s what we want. We want our products available internationally if the laws allow us to. What stands out about your growing process? We hand-feed, hand-water. Attention to detail. Our production practices are small batch, so a lot of attention goes
Employees sort cannabis by hand, left, using a manual system where buds that are ready to be packaged are sorted by size. Kyle Gadsby, right, defoliates plants at the micro-cultivation facility in Abbotsford, BC.
into the way the plant looks, not just operation and procedure. A lot of people have a schedule and just follow that Monday to Sunday. We look at the plants and sometimes they tell us different things as they produce, and we make adjustments along the way. We hand trim. We cure everything in the dark for 21 days. A lot of guys just want to get their lots to market ASAP, which they can do, but we just find the experience is way better when you slow it down. How are you working with others? I’ve found, like in the grey market, it’s all about relationships and making life easy for guys like us. When it comes to genetics, we don’t even charge for babies. The upside when you work with us is you get really great genetics, you get information on how to produce them, and they sell at the end of the day. But they don’t actually have to come up with the dough for the clones out of the gate, which can be a costly expense for companies. There’s another incentive for people to do business with us. Of course we have the option to buy those cultivars back off them. A lot of times we do and other times we opt to let them wholesale it and support them however we can Photos: John McDonald
when it comes to doing those transactions for other people. They’re still able to retain their whole business and produce the way they know how and the way they have been. We give them advice and point them in the right direction when it comes to getting a product registered with the province. We point them in the right direction if they wanted to wholesale some stuff. We have people that we work with that buy wholesale and they’re well known in the industry too now. We give them really good products and point them in a direction that makes them cash-flow positive. Do you have your facility built in such a way that it’s farmgate friendly? We sure do. There’s a reception area where consumers can come look and smell. We have an area in our production facility that’s windowed, where people can walk by without actually going into the room and see an actual flower room in production. If the city allows us, which we really hope they do, we’re going to implement a production retail store at our facility. That could be an additional building on-site, it could be part of the existing building. I don’t quite know how it’s going to look yet
but we’ve definitely ramped up for it and ready to get involved. We’ve applied for a processing licence specifically for that. We have applications in with the city preemptively letting them know that this change is coming and that we’d like to be a part of it, so we’ve got a good response from them. We’ve spoken to the (BC Cannabis) Secretariat and been involved in the conversations on how the development of that program could look, should look, and how we’d like to see it, what kind of freedoms we’d like to have as it evolves. We’re going to be involved. What do you think about how the industry’s evolved so far? It’s difficult and we’re learning as we go. There’s some areas that could use some improvement but there’s also a lot of areas where we can find our niche and stay in our lane and do some really great stuff. Rules and regulations will change over time as we see them talk about farmgate and a few other great moves in my opinion. As those evolve, you’ll see smaller companies get a little bit more freedom to be able to do some things that are what we always expected cannabis to be recreationally. theounce.ca
Sustain-inability? It wasn’t that long ago that sustainability in the cannabis sector simply meant not getting busted. But legalization has shown that for more and more people, sustainability is the product. By John McDonald Words spill out of Mika Unterman like they can’t quite keep up to her thoughts, focused as they are on sustainability in cannabis packaging. She gives an entire interview while walking her dog. “The regulations require opaque plastic which has a lower material conservation rate,” says Unterman, recounting how government regulation contributes to excess packaging, despite the best intentions of producers. “Then there’s the smell-proof requirement which means you have to apply an additional shrink wrap layer to make sure you can’t smell it,” she adds. “Also then there’s the fear behind the child resistant packaging requirement which is double the price. No company in their right mind is going to go out of their way to do that if they don’t have to.” Unterman’s company, Apical Ethical Cannabis Collective, is a management consulting firm specializing in the concept of the circular economy as it pertains to cannabis. “We have a vision of a more inclusive, sustainable and socially responsible industry,” she explains. “Our mission is to promote the adoption of non-financial capital managment to increase transparency and accountibility in the industry. Our circular economy products make measuring and managing social impact simple and profitable.”
On a more tangible level, Unterman has ideas about consumer-level cannabis packaging, specifically the ubiquitous black plastic she says is considered the “devil of the industry.” “It’s the problem child. It has a high contribution to the waste stream that goes straight to the landfill,” she adds. That’s where the circular economy comes in, things that are already in use that you can prevent from going into the landfill by reusing it multiple times. “Essentially, it means getting people to bring it back so we can refill it.” For Unterman, sustainability is an absolute selling point. “It’s not just a price, it’s all this information about this product that makes me feel good about my purchases,” she says. “It’s about creating loyalty through sustainability. It’s about that data and how to get it right in front of them at the point of purchase, even if it means showing them on a strain card.” Willing to pay the price? Sustainabilty goes hand in hand with the craft cannabis sector, if David Hurford has anything to say about it—and part of that might mean paying a bit more for the quality and associated costs. “If it’s a premier product, consumers will pay more for the heart and passion put into a product,” he says. “If you put two products in front of someone and told them the one on the left is grown by a Photo: Contributed
Small batch premium craft cannabis A true legacy brand supported by a true legacy team!
Mika Unterman (left) has a vision of a more inclusive, sustainable, and socially responsible cannabis industry. A roundtable discussion (right) organized by the BC Craft Farmers Co-op is moderated by David Hurford, left. He’s with Bubba Nicholson of Thrive Cannabis and Christina Michael of The Entourage Co. Hurford says cannabis consumers will pay more for a premium product.
farmer from down the road who’s raising a family and the one on the other side, well, that’s corporate, which one are you going to pick?” Hurford is the volunteer secretary of the BC Craft Farmers Co-op, a group he says numbers a couple of hundred licensed medical and micro-growers and those in the process of applying. “Sustainability is two things. There is financial sustainability as well as the basic sustainability of this planet,” Hurford says. “If it’s financial, are you able to open your doors, pay your workers, feed your family?” What’s missing is government support for the nascent cannabis industry, he says. “The government has poured over $100 million into those big cannabis corporations but we’re seeing them closing still,” he adds.
He says the small-batch cannabis production most of the group’s members engage in, plus the surging costs of production, means at least some aspects of sustainability are borne of need. But it’s time those costs and others should be considered an investment in the cannabis industry and given government support, Hurford argues. “How about a sustainability grant to green your operation? How about an increase in canopy area for the micros so they can be competitive?” he asks. With proper support, Hurford says micro-processing operations could help sustain rural communities facing reductions in forestry and mining employment. “We grow some of the best product in the world here in BC,” he says. “Craft growers from all over the country acknowledge BC has something special.
When they talk about cannabis in the world, we already have the BC bud brand. People already think about BC when they think about cannabis in Canada.” Taking steps to be organic It’s not easy being green. Just ask Andrew Baukham about what it takes to produce 500 kilograms of organic hemp on a farm near Guelph, Ont. One of the biggest hurdles was that his company, Leven Therapeutics, could not find an organization that would certify their processes as organic. That still didn’t stop them. “We decided we’re not going to be just a quasi-certified organic company,” he adds. “We’re going to take all the steps to ensure that everything that goes into these farms is just as good as organic certified. It has not been an easy process.”
Photos: Left contributed, right John McDonald
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That included extensive soil testing, cover cropping, living soil for potting and transplanting, and integrated pest management using beneficial insects to combat known cannabis scourges, such as aphids and mites. The company both pays more and spends more time seeking out the best options in such things as compostable packaging and nutrients that meet organic standards, Baukham adds.
It has to be beneficial to the planet. — Andrew Baukham
“It hits the bottom line,” he says. “All our inputs are more expensive. I just spent a couple of thousand dollars on something I could have spent $200 on for something off the shelf.” Leven also demands ethical production from its suppliers. “Everybody we work with has to have some sort of organic or sustainability piece to them,” he says. “It has to be beneficial to the planet. There has to be some care for what they are putting out.” Baukham says the increased costs associated with sustainable production are not viewed as a liability but rather as a selling point, one of the reasons to buy his product. “It may be a very small segment, but we rule that segment,” he adds. Photos: Contributed
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Arrested and searched for a joint By Velvet Kavanagh
n a warm spring evening, the kind that is so enjoyable in Kelowna, BC, friends were gathered in the back parking lot of Okanagan College. It was the early 1990s. We were taking an outdoor break from a student art show some friends were in. Tanya and I moved away from the group, over to a car hood illuminated by a light so I could have a spot to roll a joint. As I finished, and held the joint up to show her what a great job I did, someone’s hands grabbed my wrists. I can’t recall what was said, but it was clear we were in trouble. The two plainclothes officers hustled us into their unmarked car and whisked us away to the cop shop downtown. It was quick and quiet: our friends later said they had no idea what happened or where we went. One week earlier, Tanya had published a pro-marijuana piece in her monthly Okanagan arts paper, Boomtown. Was this related? Or just a co-incidence? Our friends had also been smoking a joint but were not busted like we were… Once at the police station, we were finger-printed and strip-searched. Tanya convinced the woman not to make her remove her 21-hole Doc Martens. It would take too long, she protested. She recalls now too that her picture was on the wall of the station, alongside people who were HIV positive—even though she was not. Concerned about a body cavity search, she pointed that out to the woman. OK, the woman said: clothes only, the boots can stay on. We got a lawyer: I scraped up $800 and Tanya handed over some jewelry. Bolstered by multiple character references, we received an absolute discharge. The main thing I remember is us giggling with nervous laughter during the proceedings. It seemed a bit surreal, being in court for a joint.
Copies of Boomtown, including one with a column advocating for cannabis.
Years later, I’m writing this piece about weed in a different Okanagan publication. To be honest, it makes me a bit nervous. What if they are watching me? What’s that saying… just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you… Or maybe that last vape hit was one too many. I left Kelowna not long after that. A year spent in Vancouver, and then I headed for the cannabis-rich Kootenays in the Southern Interior of BC. Cannabis isn’t what took me there—it was the small mountain-town life I was after. I opened a business, and I didn’t want people thinking that I was part of ‘that industry.’ It’s not that I was against it: I often partook of cannabis in social settings. I was afraid of what could happen... I’d already had a taste of that once. I closed that business a few years before legalization, and I could see how removing prohibition was going to be challenging for many who had spent decades in the illicit cannabis industry. Going from running a completely unregulated business to operating in what feels like one of the most regulated industries in our country is a big hill to climb. And now, 30 years after my arrest, I have fully immersed myself in the legal weed industry with a business that helps cannabis
cultivators navigate this new sector. We have come so far, breaking ground with legalization. Yet, over three years in, we see it is not as easy as flipping a switch, no matter how much we want it to be like that. Smokers, growers, and workers have spent years hiding who we are and what we do. Many of us were raised on the ‘this is your brain on drugs’ propaganda that told us something was wrong with us, that we were bad people making bad choices. Decades spent hiding it from families and friends, fearful of losing livelihoods, homes, children, and freedom. Many did lose those, and are still dealing with the repercussions. Today though, we can share this part of who we are. We are learning to change how we think about ourselves and what we do. To come out of the closet, so to speak… the grow room, the alley, or wherever else we have hidden. To provide equitable opportunities for those who were harmed by prohibition. To openly celebrate and be proud of what we do and of what we have accomplished: cannabis legalization. Velvet Kavanagh helps craft cannabis companies build their legacies with her business Phenologic. Connect with her on LinkedIn or at phenologic.ca. Photo: Velvet Kavanagh
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