The Parallels of the Cannabis and Beer Industries

As the “budding” cannabis industry continues to “blossom”, we are beginning to see the industry take shape. It has already begun to morph into something that I believe mirrors the beer industry.

While I can’t bring price into the conversation because I believe that we still have a lot of head way to make in this brand new industry, I can compare the products, which I definitely have more experience with.

Canopy Growth is the ABInbev of the Canadian cannabis market. They both produce massive amounts of a mediocre product, have huge advertising budgets, and cater to casual smokers, less educated in what comprises “high-quality”. Aurora, which has a couple of good strains, would be the MillerCoors of the industry, and I guess I’ll call Tilray, the Sapporo of cannabis, although I have much more experience with Sapporo’s beer than I do Tilray’s cannabis.

What I find fascinating though is that since the cannabis industry was illegal for so long, the small batch producers haven’t had to wait for some craft product explosion to find their niche. There are plenty of smaller growers that are pumping out some mind-blowing and mind-expanding strains that would leave companies like Canopy and Aurora scratching their heads about how they could possibly compare, if only they actually cared.

These smaller growers aren’t all necessarily on the legal market and I don’t recommend someone put themselves in any legal danger, but the quality level isn’t even comparable to the big players and is far more nuanced in flavour, look, smell, taste, and most importantly – the high.

Over time, I’m sure some other companies will pop up, conglomerates will reshape the landscape, and the education level of the general public will increase. When that happens, I hope that the producers in this exciting new industry give the people what they want instead of just growing mass quantities for the sake of profits.

Legalize it? Don’t mind if I do.

As I was rolling a joint yesterday, something donned on me that I hadn’t fully thought through. I feel that many people are also in the same boat when it comes to this realization. Legalization of recreational cannabis use is on the doorstep, and it is going to change the entire world.

Say what you will about Justin Trudeau, who he is and what he’s done or maybe hasn’t done, but at the end of the day, it is in his first term as Prime Minister that he is setting in place a global revolution. Cannabis legalization is two days away and as the initial first world nation to follow through with this long overdue change, Canada is about to lead the world to the next step in our evolution. Yes, it may sound corny or overstated, but the truth is that we have been sold a bill of lies for decades and we are finally waking up to this realization, and perhaps a number of other mistruths.

Over the next few years, more countries will begin to make sane legal changes, following Canada’s lead. Those countries will gain a profitable industry, including exports and healthy economic circulation, and drastically cut down on the expenses of court back-logging and over-policing a harmless substance when compared to that of alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceutical drugs. All of which will lead to a more prosperous population.

As citizens of Canada, we have a duty to make sure that we set a positive example for the rest of the world. We must act responsibly by treating cannabis and the newly legal industry with respect, and opening the eyes of world leaders to the undeniable fact that the War on Drugs has been lost and the benefits of this move outweighs any perceived drawbacks.

Let’s take the next step together and be the positive role model and change that the world so desperately needs.


Legend has it that the origin of the term 420 comes from some high school students from California in the 70’s. After school they would meet up at 4:20pm to hang out and smoke some of that sweet sweet cheeba. It eventually spread across the US, into Canada, and then across the entire world.

This explanation is far more plausible than the rumours of there being 420 active chemicals in cannabis, or the police code for possession being 420, which it is not.

Today we honour this event on the 20th of April, by getting together with friends and continuing the tradition of indulging in some of the finest herb available. It is a time for peace, love, and positivity. And definitely a few laughs.

So find a friend, light up, and enjoy. And for those who are dead set against it, lighten up, it’s a plant!

The Benefits of CBD

Many of us who are generally healthy tend to take the ease of daily activity for granted. We go about our lives, only experiencing ailments sporadically. Unfortunately for those living with a physical or mental disease, daily activity is not always a reality.

When the average person thinks of a horrific disease, they think mostly of cancer, AIDS, schizophrenia, or Alzheimer’s. They forget about the thousands of other debilitating diseases that plague Canadians everyday.

For one in every 1000 Canadian citizens life includes an ongoing battle with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, more commonly known as Lupus. This debilitating autoimmune disease, nicknamed the Great Imitator, is very difficult to diagnose. It can affect any and all parts of the body including major organs. Some of the symptoms include fatigue, chronic pain, rashes, arthritis, and osteoporosis, which explain the difficulty and long timeline for doctors to diagnose the disease correctly.

For Anna, a 56-year-old Ontario woman, living with the chronic pain, arthritis and fatigue caused by Lupus has become the only life she knows. Diagnosed at the age of 28, Anna has gone through a laundry list of prescriptions. Currently she is taking Prograph, Ramapril, Plaquilnil, Hydromorphone, Pregabalin, Risedronat and Amlodipine. These different medications allow her to have a slightly better quality of life but not without their side effects. Having lost track of all of the side effects after taking a number of different pills over the past 28 years, Anna chooses to focus her attention mainly on what helps her the most. If she is prescribed something that has adverse effects she immediately consults her doctor and her medication is adjusted accordingly. Thus far nothing has been perfect, however a new and somewhat controversial medication has recently been introduced into Anna’s daily routine, resulting in some positive changes.

Cannabidiol or CBD as it is known in the medical cannabis industry, is one of many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Patients both young and old have used CBD in various forms such as; smoking CBD-dominant strains of cannabis flower, applying topical creams, adding CBD-rich salts to a bath and most effectively micro-dosing CBD tinctures and pure extracts. These different methods are used to combat ailments from a wide array of physical and mental illnesses.

At first, Anna was nervous and skeptical due to having tried so many different cocktails of medications over the years. Had it not been for a close family member who first introduced Anna to CBD in early June of 2017, she likely would never have tried it. Anna, like many others had not been properly educated, associating cannabis only with Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the main psychoactive chemical that gets users “high”. However, Anna quickly warmed up to the idea once she was assured that CBD, as a chemical compound is free of psychoactive properties.

Anna is now more than seven weeks into her daily use of her new CBD tincture. It has allowed her to cut in half the daily use of Hydromorphone, her current pain medication, at the same time providing better rest while asleep or awake.

Anna hopes that CBD will replace more of her current medications in the future and says that she will continue to use it in her daily routine. She also highly recommends it to anyone suffering from chronic pain as a result of just about any disease, especially Lupus.

MMJ Canada: People Over Profits

Delving into the world of medical cannabis can be a frightening venture for anyone. “Do I have to be deathly ill to acquire cannabis for treatment?” or “aren’t they just drug dealers with a storefront?” are just two of the thousands of questions someone new to medical cannabis may be asking themselves. Those who have experienced these feelings of reluctance can rest assured there is a place that you can go to have your questions answered in a safe and comfortable space, without having the overly conflicting messages and click bait articles of some major news outlets and social media.

At MMJ Canada, CEO, Clint Younge works alongside Director of PR and creator of I Heart Dispensaries, Ben Rispin, and Rebecca Taube, Manager of the Hess Village location in Hamilton, ON and Founder of the LOST organization. They believe that education and healing is the most important aspect of their organization. According to Younge, MMJ is best considered a wellness retail boutique, where “[our] goal is to be a global brand, but more importantly it is to strengthen the community”, all while raising awareness of what medical cannabis can provide. “People over profits” is a saying at MMJ that can be witnessed through the staff and management’s consultative approach to assisting patients. “It’s really important for us to educate not only our staff, but the community as well. I run this store with complete transparency”, states Taube. The transparency is evident. Bud tenders help one another to answer their patients’ questions. The management deals directly with new and existing patients, and the on-site practitioner of traditional eastern medicine recommends not only the cannabis related products offered at MMJ, but other natural alternative products and healing exercises.

The demographics of MMJ’s patients span all age groups and ethnicities. However, the commonality between each is physical pain or mental illness. Both, when treated correctly, can lead to a better way of life.

It has been known for some years now that cannabis helps immensely with pain management. Indica strains, topical creams, and pure CBD (Cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid) extract, among others, can rid the body of (even if just for the short term) pain caused by illness or injury without the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs. MMJ also has some canine patients who are treated for ailments like hip dysplasia and high anxiety with CBD-infused dog treats. While the evidence is clear about the effective pain management properties of medical cannabis, there are still many who are skeptical of medical cannabis and it’s effects on mental illness.

Taube, a sufferer of mental illness created The LOST Organization (Living Outside of Suffering and Trauma). LOST is a mental health support group which aims at changing the way the world approaches mental illness by removing the stigma and creating an accessible community for those who are suffering. LOST works very closely with MMJ and Collective Care, an initiative started by Younge and Rispin to raise funds for individuals and charities, to inform, guide and most importantly, listen to the needs of people who suffer from mental illness every day. These illnesses include, but are not limited to, depression, anxiety and PTSD. Perhaps you haven’t been diagnosed with one of the more, well known mental illnesses. Maybe you suffer from severe stress due to your line of work or an obligation to a very sick family member. Perhaps you just need to relax and be able to clear your mind and enjoy life. Rispin proclaims, “Recreation is an important part of what the brain needs. It plays largely into your happiness” and consequently your mental health. For the government, however, regardless of what the community says and feels, there is a specific difference between medical and recreational cannabis.


The Uphill Legal Battle

Lately, the Ontario government has been cracking down on cannabis dispensaries, raiding every storefront in every city. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of products designed to help those suffering from mental and physical ailments are being seized by the police to be locked away in evidence rooms or destroyed. While MMJ Canada is continuously trying to work with the government to change legislation, the battle is uphill for now, and the entire Canadian market is waiting to see if and when Mr. Trudeau will make good on his promises.

Through the voices of their patients, MMJ and all affiliate organizations; Rispin believes the examples of real stories from real people will help to shape legislation to include medical dispensaries. Rispin speaks of his contact with the public, “Because I’ve been overseeing social media, I’m the one who was getting all the messages from people saying ‘thank you for getting me off opiates”. And to further the reach, through I Heart Dispensaries, Rispin encourages people to send their testimonials directly to government representatives at all levels. In turn, he has agreed to post the testimonials online in an effort to encourage more people to come forward.

The economical benefits are also apparent as has been confirmed in places like Colorado. The February 2017 tax remittance shows a total reported tax, license and fee revenue of over $17.7 million. This newly generated revenue increases significantly when added to the money being saved by not having to police archaic laws, backlog courts or imprison violators. Also, by creating jobs and more taxable incomes, the profits soar to near immeasurable heights.

MMJ is happy to pay taxes, help local economies, and fit into the industry wherever the government feels is the right place. Rispin explains, “[whether it’s] a free-market or mixed economy approach with cannabis, the focus of MMJ will not change.” He goes on to explain that working directly with the government and community to increase exposure and debunk the myths behind mental illness is “how we will help and benefit the most people”.

As part of the MMJ mission to bring medical cannabis and mental illness to light, Clint Younge spoke at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Berlin, Germany on April 10-12, 2017. Other speakers included Tommy Chong, U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, and a number of high profile doctors and entrepreneurs.

For those interested in becoming a patient of MMJ Canada, you can book your free assessment by calling your nearest location or going to, selecting your region (B.C. or Ontario) and clicking the appointments tab.