While Canada’s rollout of legal pot has been generally accepted as crap – the fact that Toronto has just four legal pot shops open is a testament to that. One thing is for sure though: it can only be up from here, right? Major kudos to the brands who were courageous enough to foray into the world of cannabis in 2019. It’s thanks to them that Toronto, the largest city in Canada and a leader in business and culture, has at least something new and interesting to show for its first year in legal pot.
Here are 9 notable and already-established Toronto brands that made moves in pot this year.
After legalization, the long-standing head shop on Queen West swiftly secured $5 million in investments from 48North Cannabis Corp, VIVO, Green Acre Capitol, and others, to support the company’s growth. We can expect to see Friendly Stranger branch out to 100 stores across the country over the next few years, selling accessories, and cannabis.
Kensington Market’s iconic pot cafe has been operating for over 15 years, but this past year, the Hot Box demonstrated thought leadership in a disruptive way. The company’s commentary and journey offered a sobering perspective, and its petition demanding the government open up the application process to private companies allowed others to cast their vote against the ‘insane lottery process.’ The Hot Box may have spent close to half a million dollars getting ready three stores for applications to no avail, in 2019, but it did earn the credit of hosting the first-ever cannabis patio at the Craft Beer Festival at the CNE this past year.
The local Pilsner brand caused sparked some buzz when it was revealed that it was in talks with several cannabis producers for a possible investment or joint venture. Ideas on the table were a pot-infused beer, a Steam Whistle brand of cannabis, and a pot shop at the Roundhouse Park building. No plans have been locked down as of yet.
For those who can’t make it to the spa in Grafton, just outside of the city, Ste. Anne’s recently debuted a line of CBD-infused skincare products. Those who can make it have the option to splurge on a canna-massage treatment and get rubbed down with hemp-derived CBD oil. St. Anne’s may not be known as the trendiest spa near the city, but its incorporation of pot into its services is certainly forward-thinking.
The Toronto-based beauty company teamed up with Aurora Cannabis last fall to launch a vegan, cruelty-free skincare line infused with cannabis-derived ingredients. The use of hemp in the product and packaging helps eliminate animal by-products and reduce the use of plastic. Founder Brandi Leifso was recognized this year for her story and also her success in business and innovation in the beauty industry.
Canada’s only digital-first cannabis retail and lifestyle brand, Weedbox, focused on the 2020 launch of its Palm Springs store while further expanding and building out the success of its media efforts. The brand’s podcast, The Dopist, hit its stride in its second season with the first live broadcast from the 2019 Lift Awards. 2020 will see a series of cannabis and Esports events and multiple CBD brands launched in the States. Stay tuned for what takes shape at Weedbox.
Cult-followed cinnamon buns dealer Rosen’s Buns lent its signature cinnamon bun spread to a joint product offering with baking company Mom Jeans Provisions – spiked cookies. ‘High Rise’ cookies have caramel chips, sea salt, and 10mg of THC, and ‘Relaxed Fit’ versions have CBD. The buzz-worthy cookies were ‘shared’ at stores like Easy Tiger and Likely General.
This women-founded, design-forward accessories brand made a name for itself this year and was recently acquired by 48North. Keep an eye out for a more robust selection of the stylish high-end ceramic pipes, bongs, and, grinders in the distinct Sackville style. This brand was a major trendsetter as far as paraphernalia was concerned, this past year.
High Noon’s handcrafted ceramic pipes received some accolades this year by outlets like VICE, The Kit, Toronto Life, and more. Founder Leah Lavergne’s mission to serve women in the cannabis space with beautiful, simple accessories has been a key driving force of the inclusive ethos of cannabis 2.0.
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