If you’re like us, you’ve literally been counting down the days until recreational cannabis will be legalized on October 17th. The province of Ontario has introduced a bill to govern cannabis sales via the Ontario Cannabis Store (online). But for many consumers, the flurry of products available to them can be overwhelming at best and the when and where to start can give some folks anxiety.
This is why Brad Rogers, the president of CannTrust, decided to launch three new brands and with them, complementary strains that have been specifically cultivated for different consumers. The focus of these brands is to provide the cannabis user an experience, specially curated to meet the needs, no matter what type of user they are: new or educated.
Edit Seven: What was the decision to launch these three different brands (liiv, Xscape and Synr.g)?
Brad Rogers: We saw an opportunity to be able to simplify the decision-making process within cannabis, because most people I’ve talked to, even still regardless of age or demographic or gender, creed, color when they’re smoking weed, it’s just weed. They don’t know what they’re smoking. And sometimes yeah, when I smoke a joint – I will not know what it was. I’ll just know it was a weed. So we’re trying to be at the forefront of bridging the gap in the educational barrier and lowering the bar on the decision making processes within it. When you talk about cannabis at the technical level, you’re talking Indica, Hybrid, Sativa, and then you’re going into the Kushes. From there, you get into the THC, CBD profiles, and the percentage thereof. You can right glandular, very similar to wine and region and these things that sort of are applicable along those lines as well if you take it analog. With our lifestyle brands, we’re trying to make your purchase decisions really easy. So for instance with our Xscape brand, strains are carefully curated for specific experiences, making it easy for consumers to choose the right strains for their adventures. There is a strain called Walk the Dog and another one called Tailgate Party. We’ve made the choice really easy, brandable, and sticky and if it works for you within that context you’re going to come back for it time and again.
E7: There’s are not a lot of brands who’ve really stepped forward to do something like this. So why do you think that it’s important to sort offer this type of experience to your customers?
BR: Like I said before, the level of sophistication in the cannabis consumer is I would say analog to that of a wine consumer. If you like a profile, or you like a taste – it would be similar to if you like a red or a white, which can be matched with an Indica and Sativa. Then you get into your Cabernet Sauvignon and your Pinots and what have you. It’s sort of simplifying the process for people who don’t necessarily want to get all the technical, but enjoy an experience that it gives them that is associated with a brand.
E7: One of the biggest things I’ve noticed about the industry is right now is that we’re in this really great position as making and creating a whole new category of consumer goods. That comes with branding and marketing and kind of because we’re all figuring it out together.
BR: Oh, absolutely. I mean look, just take the alcohol companies, for instance. The
shock heard around the world was the Constellation investment in Canopy, but that’s indicative of what a forward-thinking company sees what this opportunity can provide for them. In Colorado, they’re seeing 15 to 20% decline in alcohol consumption. So a company like Constellation that’s going to hit their bottom line. Top line and bottom line for that matter. And so to not just stop that slide, or offset that slide I think what they see is an opportunity to grow the pie. There’s a $10 billion underground economy of cannabis going on right now and as that comes into the normal light, as it normalizes, I think the opportunity is there to get your brand out there first, establish a fantastic product, and capitalize – not just on the smoke-able product, but on the beverage side. Right now, CannTrust has a zero-taste profile beverage that is basically the base of any input. So you can build any beverage experience around what our zero taste profile is on our THC and CBD products. So when you think of innovation you can go anywhere with it on the beverage side of it. It’s phenomenal.
E7: Since the ’60s there’s always been a negative connotation associated with stoners, and people who smoke cannabis. Do you see that this culture’s sort of shifting and changing?
BR: I mean there’s some whispers and such around cannabis usage, but there are so many other injection methods other than just the typical bong guy who’s got his hat on sideways and 1,000 tattoos and piercings everywhere. That’s a stigmatized version of who uses cannabis. We have run the gambit of stigma over the years. But now, we’ve got doctors, judges, and lawyers on the other side of it that are buying from us more frequently. So I think the bar is now lowered with respect to the stigma around it and I think once it becomes normalized, it’s just going to be similar to alcohol.
E7: What are you most excited for with legalization about to happen?
BR: Well, this is history. I’m excited about this is as history. I don’t know what Jack Daniels looked like when it came out of prohibition and started distributing legally to liquor stores or started retailing in any way shape or form. But this is history here, this is beyond that of anything we’ve ever seen in 100 years here. I think it’ll be something monumental and something I don’t think we’re going to see in our lifetime again.
(Story by Contributing Editor, Ama Scriver)