With weed legalized across the great white north, companies like Tweed are making good on the promise to educate and enlighten the masses on cannabis culture
It’s hard to dispute the idea that the bulk of us have lived through a watershed moment or two. A few of us, like some of our loyal readers, may have lived through some juicy ones.
Far Reaching Effects
Debate, disparage or don’t, but there is little doubt that October 17, 2018, falls under that category of historic moments. The ramifications of October 17, 2018, will be far felt and trickle down through your children and children’s children.
Yes, October 17, 2018 was the second coming for cannabis enthusiasts, the long-awaited day for pot legalization in Canada. The Great White North was no doubt up in smoke that day and many days after.
Courtney Langille recalls the day, and its aftermath, vividly. As Community Engagement Specialist for Canopy Growth and their subsidiary Tweed, Langille had boots on the ground to witness history in the making.
It was a change, some three months in, that we Newfoundlanders and Labradorians seemed to be ready for, as evident by our mass consumption of the stuff – some six million spent in the first six weeks if you believe the numbers – and our seemingly cool attitude to a product that was demonized for decades.
“I think that the biggest thing now is the transparency,” Langille shares. “It’s always been here, but depending on someone’s employment they couldn’t necessarily be as transparent about the subject before. We’re looking at a new culture that’s establishing itself very quickly.”
Here on The Rock, the cannabis craze that enveloped the Great White North this fall presented its own share of problems, geography, as ever, being the first. But then, we also had our own special set of rewards.
“Newfoundland is a very unique environment for this,” Langille says. “We are the only Atlantic province that has the green light for privately licensed cannabis retailers. Outside of Newfoundland, PEI, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick all have government operated stores.
“There was definitely a different feel for Newfoundland on 10/17 and the weeks leading up to it. To add to it, we’re an island, so we had a lot of unique challenges for meeting demands that other provinces didn’t have. The product arriving across water was the biggest issue, which is an access issue for everything in Newfoundland.”
Granted, there are surely still detractors, those who may require a nudge in the right direction, those who would do well with a brochure and some enlightening realities, and rightfully so. Bucking mentalities that have existed since the Kennedys’ ruled the white house won’t happen overnight.
“I think that the impression I’ve gotten being on the ground since July is people are very curious,” Langille admits. “Cannabis has always been around, but they haven’t really been intimately introduced to it. When I get in front of a group of people and give cannabis presentations, we’re talking about it in a way that they never envisioned we’d be having conversations about. It also forms a professional platform for them to answer questions. They never had that safe space to ask before without being met with judgment or stigma. I think that’s really important too, moving away from that stoner culture and stoner concept and really realizing that people who consume cannabis can make meaningful contributions to the community.”
Organizations like Tweed are on the frontline of that education process. The company has six locations across the province at press time – equating to some 200 new jobs island wide – and it’s not just your copy and paste stoner archetype haunting the establishments either.
No, it’s mom and pop, grandma and grandpa, and all legal ages in between.
“There’s a lot of diversity in consumers and customers,” Langille explains. “People have their own reasons. I’ve seen people walk in the doors and they’ve never consumed at all, have no experience level and this is an opportunity for them to get direct education about the diversity of products, about the company, about the movement. They never had an opportunity for that before.”
“In the illicit market there was very little in the way of knowing how you could trace your product back, what conditions were it grown under? Where did it come from? How did it get here? And now we’re in a position where we can give firm answers to those questions and we can really carve out a new era of canna-sures where people have more refined tastes for what they want their cannabis to smell like, what they want it to taste like, to look like. It’s really a new era, totally.”
From the moment you enter the door to a Tweed establishment, preconceived notions of the pot process go up in smoke – pun intended. Bright, vibrant locations, intuitive and knowledgeable staff, and a wide assortment of products for everyone from your novice to your ganja guru.
“We set a high standard for the front-line retail staff, because they’re the gatekeepers for our store and our brand,” Langille explains. “It was very important for us to make sure that this is a meaningful retail experience, it’s not just going in and buying a product, it’s about getting information on the diversity of what’s available to you.
“Our selection of accessories and merchandise is very elegant and it’s not something that people would assimilate with paraphernalia. These are elegant home pieces that people are very proud to have on display. What we’ve found, is people who aren’t even consuming themselves are purchasing these accessories and having them in their homes to make cannabis consumers feel welcome. In the same way that people might buy a half case to have on hand over the holidays, people are buying half quarters to be accommodating to those people who have different preferences. This is the first time that this has happened and it’s amazing to see.”
As Bob Dylan wrote, “the times they are a-changin”.
For more on Tweed locations, production information and just general knowledge visit canopygrowth.com and tweed.com