Beauty, events, Health & Wellness, Holistic Health, Reflections, supply, Toronto, women & entrepreneurship

Lift & Co’s Expo & Legalization in Canada

As of October 17, 2018 Canada is one of the first countries in the world to legalize non-medical pot at the federal level. That day put Canada on the map as being the first G7 country in the world to legalize non-medical pot federally.

After walking around the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on both days during the Expo, I was surrounded by anything BUT a bunch of smokers (they weren’t allowed in the building anyway!) I was introduced to topics surrounding Cannabis use as related to medicare, food, body pain and  CBD oil based products for pets and beauty! All panel discussions talked candidly about how to normalize public engagement and all leaders within the industry spoke on their perspectives.

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One of the first questions I asked was…..Soooo what about Jamaica? One of the major questions I asked Lift and Co’s CMO about the country with the strongest advocacy for cannabis’ medicinal and health benefits (for many generations.) An official announcement was released late May 2018 after theshineprjct.com’s interview confirming that Jamaica will be the sole exporter of Marijuana to Canada.

As of May 27 of this year, JMCC has just announced agreements to provide medical cannabis to Canadian LPs, pending Health Canada’s approval. JMCC operates a collective in Jamaica that is owned 51% by local farmers and 49% by JMCC Canada.(Jamaican Medical Cannabis Collective)

CEO Diane Scott and Jamaican Minister for Science, Energy and Technology, Hon. Andrew Wheatley gave a joint presentation entitled “When Countries Collaborate” on the final days at the LIFT Conference shedding some light on this decision.

Other things to note:

  • JMCC is well on track to produce volumes equivalent to the large Canadian producers.
  • JMCC is already under contract to provide Jamaican cannabis to three Canadian LPs, pending Health Canada approval.
  • It has signed a three-way supply agreement with a developer of cutting-edge medical and health cannabis products, and an LP that remains confidential.
  • It has received signed letters of intent to purchase from another seven LPs, and is in discussions with another half-dozen in Canada and Europe.

The Jamaican government is focusing on Canada as a major market for its legal medical cannabis and has been very supportive of the industry. Furthermore, it fully supports JMCC. 

Folks,meet Kerri-Lynn McAllister (Chief Marketing Officer, Lift & Co) She describes the trepidation she had after being vetted by Lift and Co as their now Chief Marketing Officer! ‘I was head hunted from a tech space. I wasn’t too keen on working in the weed business at first but once I saw it’s potential and investigated some more-I found my role was exciting. IT was an opportunity to shape an industry’.

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How has the discussion about Cannabis changed since she joined Lift and Co? In six months she reports that plenty of people want to come out of the woodwork to talk about stocks/investments or how it’s helped them or family members. She was not aware of the discussions people were having prior to joining the organization. So it’s been interesting to see who was or wasn’t interested in the topic. It also shows that there is still some hesitancy to discuss topics on how to change public perception.

Do you see a difference in the getting this together-organizing it, running it? The size and scale in Vancouver is smaller but the vibe is incredible. Our events team is on the ball and have created an amazing event. Vancouver was a little more challenging to set up the event. There’s only one venue. January is the only time we were offered and January isn’t the best time for an Expo but we still have very successful attendance. From the dispensary perspective and the prevalence of cannabis businesses in the recreational market it seems Vancouver is more progressive but Toronto is way more open.

This year’s expo seems heavily focused on every avenue of the cannabis industry-it seems as though there’s an opportunity everywhere where does it start? End? Many insulary services and external products for women and particularly exciting beauty products. She noticed that Sephora was starting to carry CBD products. It’s a huge market. Food, Machinery,Textiles is all here. We don’t allow you to sell anything while exhibiting. Everything has to be above-board. We welcome various segments of the industry. We feel that there are so many auxiliary products that can serve the industry. The real focus at this Expo are the licensed producers and the niche companies.

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Canada as the Cannabis leader: Setting World standards How? So the Netherlands now gets mentioned for the first time in the whole discussion. Cannabis isn’t legal there but the by-law is re-translated to include all substances. So Canada would be the first country behind Uruguay to legalize it. And second, the first UN country to legalize it for recreational use at the Federal level. Canada is also considered a pioneer of medical cannabis use. Germany and Australia are nations observing Canada’s process in order to monitor recreational use over there!

A thought: As Canada is attempting to build a profitable Cannabis industry,one would hope that foundations like Lift and Co could join in the fight to remove charges and laws protecting those accused of profiting from Cannabis illegally. McAllister agrees that it’s not fair. We both agreed that it is a topic to be re-visited once details are ironed out from the retail point of view. Many aren’t talking about how to connect lawmakers and big businesses about deep changes that must be made to criminal legislation at a local and federal level. No organizations have come forward to discuss…..So many issues that were called into question spur a whole new set of questions. What does it look like for other provinces? What does it look like internationally? How will the cannabis industry look come October 2019?

Am I staunch Cannabis supporter? Yes and No

Do I recommend it to minors? NOPE.

Do I recommend it to treat ailments and diseases that pharmaceuticals should not be treating? Yes! 

Personally, I have vastly changed my opinion on the matter. After seeing my best friend’s Mom fight the battle of her life for almost five years with vicious stage three abdominal/cervical cancer. Seeing one of the strongest women I know lose weight and strength…..I was alarmed with how much medication was administered to her. Her condition, her overall body pain and deteriorating health after each aggressive chemotherapy session was heartbreaking. THC and Cannabis oils were not considered an option so late in her treatment but I do often think about how much it might have alleviated her pain.

Marketing Cannabis: Challenges and Opportunities

Although there were many restrictions imposed on marijuana industries on how information should be disseminated it didn’t dampen many companies/brands from reaching the public. All organizations ran into snags but found very specific techniques wildly successful. By employing savvier techniques to promote higher distribution of info and less visible imagery (lending more to the pothead stereotype), it’s made them more advanced than other industries which is one of the most difficult images to shake-off; especially in society or groups that still see weed that way. (As a drug)

In many cases it seems like a generational roadblock combined with a competitive push (to compete) with massive pharmaceutical brands.

What happens when all standard pharmaceutical cocktails fail terminally ill patients and/or chronic pain survivors? See Pain Warriors Movie 

In many cases pharma drugs are overwhelming to the system. Hurdles to overcome post-operative and/or incurable pain- includes insufficient funding, unwillingness to collaborate with Marijuana organizations from tactics like stonewalling, to the rejection of advertising and/or co-collaboration, lack of legal support, limited staff, little or no funding for startups, no bookkeeping and/or accounting services, restraints on public (social media) platforms about what can/can’t be mentioned (wording) online. The list goes on……

So where does that leave a rapidly growing and slightly forbidden industry in 2019?

One of the key answers to this ‘blazing’ question: Find the organizations that will. Cannabis organizations are savvier, they find the best in their respective lanes/industries and the right UN-biased yet open-minded companies who would like to grow with the industry. Find the companies courageous enough to overlook the stigma and see how far the movement can go. (The movement has gone so far that legislation has currently been approved at the House of Commons, and awaiting final approval) McAllister strongly suggests ‘If you’re paying attention to the space and you’re a professional services business-you’re ignoring Cannabis to your own detriment. You’re letting your political views get in the way of growing business’. (Are you?)

How Does The Growing Industry Work Around The Social Stigma? These are some VERY excellent marketing and promotional take-aways that have worked well for the industry. 

  • In short-harmless but necessary features such as clean & clear, unbiased branding, well-emphasized key mission statements (CULTURE, HEALTH/WELLNESS and COMMUNITY for example) emblazoned all over venues and promotional material (and actively creating those environments for the public to focus on.
  • Tactile and sensory marketing to convert socially doubtful and biased (opinion) to genuinely embrace items containing secondary marijuana products with an openness that might not have been possible 10 years ago. i.e. taste,test,smell

Many online platforms (Twitter, FB, IG) have rules and regulations for promoting ‘illegal substances’ online. Certain photos, commentary and suggestive language cannot be used. Marijuana businesses often align themselves in terms of community-building, health/wellness/awareness and/or industry building. All cannabis industries ran into snags but found very specific techniques to achieve success. By employing savvier techniques (strong digital and traditional marketing) was used to promote usage and/or distribution; it’s made this sector more advanced and in many cases they have more of an advantage because they’ve created a stronger movement like what we’re seeing now. Aurora Cannabis has done a fine example of clearing away the ‘pothead’ image-which is one of the most difficult images to erase pre-legalization. i.e. Collaboration with NXNE

What are some of the opinions for and against Marijuana?

Seems to fall into 3 camps:

  1. Post-operative terminal illness survivors who try to live day-to-day while searching for holistic topical methods to combat pain. In most cases Dr. prescribed pharmaceuticals numb pain and makes all tasks slightly bearable. (On the fence.)
  2. Those who do not tolerate use as an alternative choice under any circumstances (Is that societal, cultural, generational, institutional?)
  3. And those who use it recreationally and accept it.

In Ontario a private retail model is set to go public April 1st this year-What this means for Ontarians is that recreational marijuana is currently sold online for recreational use and will be sold by licensed re-sellers to the public. Will this make business better? Will it change the way other countries and societies at-large view Cannabis? Only time will tell.

805 Studio, CDR Toronto, DJ Culture & Music, Establishments, events, House Music, Knowledge, Movers & Shakers, Music, promoters, Reflections, Social Media, theshineprjct, Toronto

CDR Toronto- Local Music Series – June 16 2016-Part 2 (cdr-projects.com)

CDR (Create, Define, Release) – The night of ideas and tracks in the making at 805 Studio

CDR Cover Banner June 2016

I decided to re-cap the first CDR event of 2016. CDR thrives on genre differences and a lot of that was played a few weeks ago.  Musical differences are what CDR is all about.

The idea is for all participants to hear other sounds and maybe connect each other to the musicality of sound. CDR speaks to collaboration. The last session has seen a steady progression in participants reaching out mostly on the night of the event. Gavin mentioned that it was great to see extra layers of music people coming out of the word works.

‘We’re starting to see a bit of an organic development. There were a larger number of listeners. People are bringing in gangs of friends who are also interested in making music….It’s a discovery for everyone’

Some of the submissions are spontaneous and most were last minute. Gavin and Ramon specifically sent a shout out to Peter Delorum from Kingston, Ontario. He submitted a wikked track ‘Iliad’. He drove from Kingston, Ontario! CDR Toronto had an amazing Akai software giveaway. (Just one of the few reasons why it’s a great place to be!) The reason is to empower good production people and increase the potential to make great music!

The Dego event in April really helped CDR expand their reach! One of two mandates is to promote CDR artists at other clubs/events followed by the other to create a visual understanding of other artists’ creative process.

CDR continues to focus on supporting local Toronto/Canadian-based artists. Gavin believes that Canadians are poor at self promotion. Events like these are a great way to get your musical projects out there. Ramon shouts out DJ Gareth (Snafu 76) who is always ready and attended all 3 CDRs and as always the team is excited to see more new faces.  Special thanks to Elizabeth Da Costa for allowing CDR to run events at her community arts building! (805 Studio) It’s an amazing space which personifies CDR-be sure to check out the next event on June 16th! Have your submissions ready!

 

DJ Culture & Music, Establishments, events, House Music, Knowledge, Movers & Shakers, Music, promoters, Social Media, theshineprjct, Toronto, Travel

House Music Series – Toronto LOCAL -The Boxing Loft Social Club – Installment 4 – A Commitment to Excellence (Original article no misquotes here) :D

*Please be mindful, there may be multiple versions of the article posted elsewhere. This is THE original article. There are many House DJs,artists,promoters all over Toronto. Be sure to check HERE. No one is above anyone else. No one is more supported than anyone else. The House Community should be a place where many people can showcase their work,make people move and most importantly show the world what we have here. (Not divisive in nature.) I would never support one movement,genre,sound,crew,mixer,club-over the other. I would never post anything that suggested that either. It’s highly unfortunate that more interviews couldn’t be successfully completed throughout the city…..oh well 👍🏾

The language used in the other versions were NOT the words spoken or recorded during the interview. Please check for misquotes and re-structured sentences and phrasing. Fact check for accurate info. I repeat there are so many people who contribute to the scene all over the city. As I started this section, my intention wasn’t to say one thing was better than another.

I’ve got many friends who visit this city and don’t know where to go if they want to hear good sounds and many are not aware that Toronto has a burgeoning House or Techno scene. We had an amazing interview, Emile. This is NOT what was said. No loss in translation. (Names of artists, hosts, promoters or venues might be preferential to the individual expressing that in the interview but if anyone has ever quoted anything sounding very odd-know that it is edited before it is posted here.)

(Emile, please don’t misquote our discussion, that’s not what was said.)* 

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From a gig as paralegal to event party planner to disciplined athlete turned boxing instructor and now accomplished business man-Emile Awe Reed is one focused individual seeking excellence.

I’d been to Loft SC a few times…I wondered who was behind  its open concept. I chatted with Emile via Skype a little over a week ago and talked about it quite a bit….

How House Music has influenced his life: Music has always been a part of his life. He was in the choir at school. He attended North Western State University and was a member of their Choir. He grew up listening to Nana Maskari, Harry Belafonte among very many unique artists. He grew up listening to Classic Rock and loved bands like The Who and Led Zeppelin. He still hadn’t embraced House by then yet but by the 80s and 90s  (the most influential era in my House Music opinion) and really got into Reggae.

He notes that it was not until one of the longest running Toronto parties (Twilight Zone) that created the connection. He started attending events in (2004).
During a difficult time in his life he truly embraced House. He eventually met DJ Gene King who always mentioned the importance of an ‘open mind’.They are now business partners! Look out for UDM (Underground Dance Music) parties they throw twice a year!

House Music IS Just So Cool: He opened The Boxing Loft Social Club. House music’s sole purpose at the Boxing Club serves as a pace-setter for boxing technique (shadowboxing) and foot technique. ‘Boxing still uses rhythm just like dance….. Reed tells me with conviction,’most of the House I hear, I love…if you want to be a good boxer, you’ve got to be good at everything-a complete fighter…this is why I fight to music’.

Unlike many…..I had no idea ‘The Boxing Loft’ was an actual boxing gym! As a brand marketing pro-star I thought it was a well-crafted brand image that simply brought people together-along with a prop stage boxing ring (silly me)! With ‘Inspired Gatherings’ happening frequently, ‘Social Club’ is exactly what it is. There are arts focused events, boxing instruction and dance party events all happening within those four walls! The social component never ends!

Reed started running events at 199 Queen St. E in 2004 and ran into snags with liquor permits for locations and capacity violations. It made sense to find a permanent home for events and voilà: The Boxing Loft was born! Growing up he watched Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and learnt that during their time social clubs were VERY popular. People with similar interests gathered to socialize and grow their memberships. This is what the future will look like at the Boxing Loft!

The Way Emile Sees It: Reed has a way he does business with co-organizers in the scene. ‘I’m always gonna be upfront and real with people…I’m a new cat, I’m still learning….I like to work with anyone who is willing to learn, you need others in order to attain wealth….With more people there’s power…I’m a business person first….You have to be respectful…It’s not just about me’. <<<shine’s thing too!

Misquoted elsewhere. Working With the Local Toronto House Behind-the-scenes promo people: If it wasn’t for my team, I wouldn’t be here without hosts and promoters. (if I didn’t mention you, I apologize) I removed the names because it seemed to cause issue. You are the ones that enable my name to get out there. I appreciate that they have helped me brand The Boxing Loft. Even though I’m the boss-I don’t stand alone…..I’d be nowhere if the DJs didnt play in my space.

shine’s words added here>>>SO MANY AMAZING KEY PLAYERS THAT MAKE UP THE CITY’s scene-I WISH IT WAS AN EVEN BIGGER SCENE with a unified platform to bring more people from overseas to (Toronto). Absolutely no shade. 

DJs as Artists:How Does That Work? (Misquoted section)<<<click here

DJs should be validated as artists. I have an idea of how DJs should play. This is how/why I choose who plays at The Boxing Loft. DJs like Yogi,Stan Zeff, Zepherin Saint,Ian Friday, Josh Milan, Joe Rizla. DJs of THAT calibre-this is how I choose. I try to keep the DJ guest choices at a certain level…..you know that standard…..As an athlete I strive to be the best, same as the DJs. I have to make sure I shine so the DJ shines and the underground’ll shine. I want The Boxing Loft to act like an advocate for House Music. <<<<<<<(there are many groups, that are very good, that sound good and have large, medium or small followings all over Toronto-it doesn’t make anyone better or worse.)

What to expect at The Boxing Loft:

No drugs allowed inside (it’s a sports venue and creative space too!)

Make sure as you enter TBL you can somehow relate to what you’re taking in (art/music/sport)

Come in with an open mind

You will always be treated well

It’s a place with an incredible vibe

You too can box or dance at The Boxing Loft Social Club….For events visit Twitter @TheBoxingLoftSC  or their website http://theboxingloft.com/

*Please be mindful, there may be multiple versions of the article posted elsewhere. This is the original article. There are many House DJs,artists,promoters all over Toronto. Be sure to fact check HERE. No one is above anyone else.All key players as a WHOLE contribute in many ways. People visiting Toronto internationally should be able to visit many venues to party safely during their stay here. Please check for misquotes. Fact check for real info. All media outlets are used as informative vehicles for change and to build legacy. The section of this blog was intended to bring all types of people to Toronto to embrace all genres of House. This article was not intended to be divisive in nature. I enjoy House music. And this section is all about it.Don’t take offense until you know what you’re reading is TRUE. Don’t misquote or force something that wasn’t said. (Updated in 2018-had no idea this was altered elsewhere!)

-shine

Reflections, Toronto

Finishing internships is like so last year!

It’s been way too long…..after 2 months of early mornings, I’m proud to say that I love PR! I completed my internship on December 29,2009! It was an amazing way to finish off the year and I’m eager to find opportunities that are custom fit. I worked in the consumer care/beauty “department” and loved it! I found myself getting very focused at times. I enjoyed the tedious preparation before an event. The prep helped me see the bigger picture and anticipate the level of dedication required. Some of the skills I acquired were:
Media coverage tracking – I had to learn over time that having coverage trackers ready for client consumption was key.

Pitching – Phone & media pitching. I gree confidence in this area. Part of being able to develop stronger pitching was my ability to hear/feel the media contacts response to the pitch.

Active writing – Writing actively meant being concise,focused and developing for the audience. Having a clear writing objective for industry websites vs. electronic pitches for industry media equals very different

Keeping track of media impressions – This had to be a science of sorts : ) Running in EVERY morning with commuter papers and publications anticipating media coverage for the client, had me feeling very in tune with the beauty industry.

Media list building – This was so challenging. A proper media list gives you a chance to clearly redefine your client’s objectives. By aiming to the correct media outlet, I found that the media contacts were open-minded about covering the topic in their publication or running a product review in their blog or even better: attending the event planned by my firm!

The list of skills I acquired was enough to make me feel that I chose the right industry and that I will consider starting a business……….

Until then, I’m trying to “build relationships” with people and organizations that I can benefit from and can also benefit from me.