Disclaimer: I worked alongside Allen Kilback, the owner of Eden Cannabis Co., and a team of talented professionals, to help launch Eden's online presence. My role was to develop his website, eden.green. This gave me some insight into their business model, and the legislation they must abide by. Although we have a business relationship, this article was not paid for or sponsored by Allen Kilback or Eden Cannabis Co. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
On October 17, 2018, it happened.
Cannabis, in all sense of the word, was legalised across Canada. Nobody knew what to expect, or how it would be handled. Speculations ranged from the population becoming so stoned that the economy would crash, to mass revolts against the government. But, over a month later, society hasn't changed all that much. People who smoked weed still smoke weed, and people who don't, just don't.
We are still in the early days of what could be considered the largest social experiment in human history. There were, and are, many hiccups that have occurred. One of the largest issues is that there isn't enough marijuana to go around. Many stores have accessories only and are slowly getting the actual product now. Some have even created rules to prevent the product from being sold overnight, such as Saskatoon's Pot Shack, which limits purchases to one product per customer.
Eden Cannabis Co., located at New Horizon Business Park, Unit #15, just outside of Pilot Butte, had no limitations on their product (except for the legal limit of 30 grams per person). Since mid-October people have been thronging to the business daily, but I hadn't gone out there since pre-launch. I decided to stop by and visit.
One of the unique ways Eden approached selling cannabis is through educational means. Many people, including me, know nothing about cannabis and are a little leery to touch the product. Will my brain fry if I smoke it? Will I immediately fall into an abyss of poverty and drug addiction? Will I experience extreme paranoia that the Canadian Film Board is watching my every movement?
The staff at Eden put all these fears aside. Much like different alcohol products can get you more intoxicated, different cannabis products can get you different levels of "high". These effects vary depending on your tolerance of the product, the amount of THC and CBD, and how you consume it.
There are product lists throughout the store, and online, that show the values of THC, CBD and the strain they belong to. These product lists might not make sense to the average person, but the staff can decipher it for you. Here are what some key terms mean:
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the part of the plant that causes euphoria or psychedelic effects. The higher the THC, the stronger the effect.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is the part of the plant that reduces pain. This does not cause euphoria or psychedelic effects. In fact, CBD can replace THC when consumed together, preventing THC from causing the effects it is so known for. Many cannabis oils are full of CBD and lack THC, allowing users to dull pain but not get "high".
Strain is the plant the buds came from. There are three kinds of strains: Indica (which causes relaxation), Satvia (which increases concentration) and Hybrid (which causes laughter). Legally, Eden can't say these strains have these effects, but that's what they claim to do.
For example, if you broke your foot and you're looking for pain relief and to relax, you're looking for an Indica product with high CBD. If you're looking to take up meditation, you'd want Satvia and THC. If you're looking to recreate a scene from That 70's Show, you're looking for a Hybrid product with semi-equal parts of CBD and THC.
That's a lot to remember, and it can be a little overwhelming for first-time users. I had to get the staff to explain it several times, and I looked through the many magazines and information cards to get a better idea of what I was looking to purchase. As somebody who has never touched the stuff before, I wanted to make the best decision I could.
One thing I really liked about Eden's approach was their "display cases" of the different products. You can take a microscope to the buds and see how they look and smell. Different products smell differently, from skunk to cookies to berries and everything in between.
One complaint I heard from customers, and I have seen across the board in other parts of the country, is the price of legal cannabis. I purchased two different flower products (Shishkaberry, an Indica strain, and Ultra Sour, a Satvia strain), along with a pipe, a screen and a grinder. These five products cost me under $50, which isn't that bad of a deal. Here is how the price broke down:
Shishkaberry (1 gram) - $10.99
Ultra Sour (1 gram) - $14.99
Pipe - $8.99
Screen for pipe - $1.99
Grinder - $4.95
The prices don't seem too unreasonable, but they are a little high, so what gives? Well, it breaks down to a couple different factors. The first is that this product is limited. Every store across the country wants it, but only a handful can afford it. There is a limited supply and a massive demand. To get this product, Eden paid a premium cost, and that falls back onto consumers. We see this happening with lettuce in grocery stores right now too. Romain lettuce across the country have been recalled and the demand for Iceberg lettuce has skyrocketed. As a result, the cost for Iceberg lettuce has almost doubled. Once Romain lettuce comes back into production, prices will settle back down. This is exactly what's happening with the cannabis industry too.
Unfortunately, the limited product also makes it difficult for people who need medical marijuana to receive it. Eden sells many of the same products, but is for recreational use only. If they stopped selling product that could be used by the medical marijuana industry, another retailer will scoop it up almost immediately. If there's any unfortunate side effects of legislation, it's that this wasn't handled better by the government.
Another reason for this cost is that this is a high-quality product. Average, black-market cannabis is around 12% THC. The Shishkaberry I bought is at 15.90%, while Ultra Sour is 20.80%. These products have extremely higher THC values than what you normally find from your neighbourhood dealer and thus have higher prices.
Some people have said the product at this price won't get rid of the black market. While I know little about the black market, I know nothing can ever get rid of it. There will always be a cheaper, easier, faster way to get something if you really want it. From homemade brew to unlocked phones, there is always a way to get something lower than market price. But, shopping in the black-market can be dangerous. Buying from a place like Eden offers a secure, safe place to buy cannabis. You know the weed you get at Eden is approved federally and won't be laced with opioids or methamphetamine.
What I like about Eden is the transparency the business has. They will talk to you about the pricing, where the product comes from and the effects it may have. Retail stores across the country have their hands tied by legislation. They can't recommend a product, they can't say the effects the product might have, and they can't show pictures of people enjoying the product. They can't even boost posts on social media since many social media companies are based in the United States where the product is still illegal. This is an industry that's challenging to navigate and is changing almost daily, and Eden is upfront and honest about that.
Personally, I enjoyed buying cannabis from Eden. The gentleman who sold me the product was dressed in a black suit and knew the product and accessories very well. Never have I been sold something by somebody in a suit. Even car salesmen don't wear suits anymore. I was impressed, and I felt comfortable buying from him.
So, let's do some unboxing and talk about exactly what I got:
An issue I heard on social media was the amount of packaging that surrounds the cannabis product. I agreed it was a little excessive, but I also know Eden can't touch this. According to legislation, the product is sealed when shipped to the distribution centre and is only opened by the consumer. The unnecessary cardboard and plastic have nothing to do with Eden, and they can't do anything to reduce it.
I wasn't surprised by the smell of the product (it was the typical weed smell) but I was surprised by how dry it was. I expected, naïvely, for the bud to be soft like a flower bud. But, since it has been processed and shipped across the country, it wouldn't retain the tenderness of the plant it once had.
I cut off a piece about the size of a pencil eraser and put it in the grinder. The grinder also does a great job at grinding up garlic, but I recommend washing it between uses (or not; it's up to you!).
Once I ground up the flower, I poured it onto some paper (any paper would do – I used an insurance bill. I'm sure they appreciate the usage of their letterhead) and put it aside. I then got out my yellow pipe and took out the screen. I read the directions on how to insert the screen into the pipe but messed up and ended up breaking off a piece of the pipe instead.
I read that the screen isn't necessary, but I didn't want to inhale any of the embers so I MacGyvered it the best I could. It was probably my lack of experience that caused it to break, but it was bit of a letdown nevertheless.
From there I poured the grounded flower into the pipe and was ready to smoke it.
I've been told there are certain cravings associated with cannabis use (eg: hunger) so I also made sure I had a bag of chips on standby too.
At the time of writing I have not used the product yet, but sometime within the next few days I will sample it, and eventually Ultra Sour too. I had some running around to do today and I didn't have four hours to hang out around the house until the effects wore off. Driving high, no matter how much you smoke, is never okay. Always use the product responsibly and plan a safe ride home.
What are your thoughts on the cannabis industry? Where do you think the industry will go? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
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A few articles ago I listed Ogema as one of the top destinations to visit in Saskatchewan. Immediately after I wrote the article, I put my money where my mouth was and booked a weekend trip to Ogema for my girlfriend and me. I figured it wouldn't be fair to my readers to recommend a place for them to visit without actually visiting it myself, and after getting my new Galaxy S7 from TELUS I figured I needed a reason to test it out.
Earlier this year I took my Galaxy S6 to La Ronge, and had very little coverage. I wanted to use Facebook's new Live Video option, but I couldn't get enough service to even send a text message. I was pretty disappointed by the coverage with that provider, so I was interested to see how TELUS' network was in Ogema.
The result was pretty darn good! We streamed Spotify all the way there, were able to do a Live Video from the Deep South Pioneer Museum and took some really great pictures and videos of the trip. It also helped to have a reliable network when I got lost driving there (don't ask me how!). TELUS has invested over $29 billion into their network since 2000 and it has really paid off. It's a great feeling knowing that no matter where you travel, you can rely on TELUS to keep you connected.
As I stood in the courtyard of Fort Henry, I heard screams emanating from within. Fort Henry was constructed to protect the Kingston Royal Dockyard from the invading American forces during the War of 1812. The threat was so real that the capital of Canada – which was then Kingston – was moved to Quebec to protect it. The docks are all that stood between the United States and the St. Lawrence River and both countries were all too familiar with how easily it would turn the tides of battle.
As the screams from inside Fort Henry faded, I turned to the man beside me. He had come with his family. We got talking, trying to calm our nerves as bloodied clowns and undead mimes began wandering out from inside the fort.
If you follow my blog, you know I love history. History is what makes us who we are today. It defines our accomplishments and highlights our failures. Most importantly, it helps us move forward as a society.
A lot of my focus is Saskatchewan's history, but there's plenty of amazing history to be told in our neighbour province of Alberta too. From First Nations culture, through to early pioneers, the oil boom and the legacy the province today, there is always something to learn about when visiting Alberta.