Cannabis legalization in Canada was a major win that was a long time coming. However, to use comedian George Carlin’s famous quote, “The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity.” Another saying that might resonate more clearly with people involved in the cannabis industry is “One sows and another reaps.”
In other words, devoid of abstract metaphors, the craft cannabis growers who laid all the groundwork for cannabis legalization for years on end by continuously showing Canada and the world just how much magic the flower can pack when cultivated right, still remain largely in the shadows. Canny businessmen, however, sweep in and reap the financial opportunities that the fledgling cannabis industry is now brimming with.
While you can’t blame anyone for using their sharp business instincts, it’s important to remember who paved the way for the research and innovations we’re now witnessing in the cannabis industry, who looked at cannabis many years ago and saw real potential where others saw only a means of wasting it – it was craft growers.
Luckily, Pasha Brands remembers. A Canadian cannabis company with the resources to compete with the big players, but also with a fervor for real cannabis and a deep respect for its artisanal roots, Pasha’s mission is to honor craft cannabis growers by getting them the attention they’ve rightfully earned.
Pasha Brands has already acquired a number of once illicit brands worth a combined $50 million in revenue.
“Craft producers are the heart of the cannabis industry and no one was looking out for them when the Canadian government made legalization possible, no was thinking about how to get them out of the illicit market and help them transition,” explains Pasha Brands’ Executive Chairman, Patrick Brauckmann.
Pasha’s mission is all about paying credit where credit is due, and producing the best cannabis products in the process.
“Craft growers and producers are the ones who expanded the horizons of this whole sector. Dispensaries get a lot of credit for developing a sophisticated market, but it was the craft market that developed symptom-specific cultivars, bubble-hash, rosin, lube, bath bombs, CBD products, etc. It is their artisanal ways that got us here, and we need to ensure regulation doesn’t stifle that,” says Jamie Shaw, Pasha Brands’ Director of Communications.
And how does Pasha go about its idealistic vision? Basically, by approaching craft cannabis growers and the challenges they face the same way those growers approach their crops – on a case by case basis, breeding and celebrating uniqueness and quality, and delving into the details regarding making cannabis, in terms of growing and selling it in accordance with the law.
“There’s such a range when we discuss craft growers, from those who kept very low profiles and were well-kept secrets, to those that created their own world-famous brands in an illicit market. The challenges are different for each one, and Pasha helps identify what they will be. Our goal is to develop a strategic plan that addresses those with industry experts. We’re a family, we’re here to help each other,” Shaw explains.
However, the stubborn stigma, associated with craft cannabis growers’ formerly illegal activity, still clings to their public image and makes their transition to the legal market harder.
“Banks wouldn’t touch us at first but now we have reversed the stigma on the typical LP [licensed practitioner] crowd. When a big LP needs to legitimize their product, they come to British Columbia and buy a craft LP. Now the whole industry is scratching their heads and wondering how they can get in the craft game,” Brauckmann says.
And the constantly changing regulations of the legal cannabis industry don’t make the transition any easier, either.
“It depends on the grower, but our current system has definitely been difficult for them to navigate. Federal changes are one thing, but when you add on every other lower level of government, it can definitely be a challenge,” Shaw says.
Luckily, the love for craft cannabis which brings Pasha’s versatile team together doesn’t come at the expense of their business instincts or in-depth understanding of the intricate legal framework of the cannabis industry.
“Our people have been involved on the ground floor of many of these changes, and are involved in ongoing work with various First Nation, federal, provincial, municipal lawmakers. Sometimes it means going to a small community and providing their government with information, and sometimes it means helping them rezone or move to a compliant area. For some, it means fighting for changes in the way testing is interpreted such as with anaerobic counts from using live soil,” Shaw explains.
“And we’re not just helping craft growers to become legal, we’re helping to make sure that legal framework doesn’t crush that creativity,” she continues.
Now, there’s already a noticeable shift in the public’s opinion, and craft cannabis growers can finally take pride in their work openly and be appreciated by people outside their professional circles.
“One of our farmers was always afraid to tell other parents at PTA meetings what he did for a living. Now they are asking him to help them set up personal gardens at their homes! I have so many of these stories,” Brauckmann shares.
But it’s important to underline that as much as Pasha may be proud to serve craft cannabis growers, ultimately, it’s even prouder to bring the public the best products possible, which uncoincidentally happen to be the craft ones, from both a cultural and a purely scientific standpoint.
Culturally and sentimentally speaking, “craft cannabis is like that pair of old faded jeans you love to put on or the vegetables you are eager to pay more for at a farmers market. We know that craft is superior because it has meaning attached to it and small farmers put their care into every aspect of their garden,” Brauckmann explains.
And strictly scientifically, “craft cannabis is better – a craft cannabis cultivar might be genetically identical to an LP cultivar but the chemical profile will be completely different because the inputs are all varied,” he continues.
The superiority of craft cannabis makes a huge difference to medical cannabis consumers as well, since “mass isolation of CBD creates homogenous products,” which might not be specialized enough to optimally treat individuals’ unique conditions.
Pasha Brands will be listing on the CSE (Canadian Stock Exchange) with 160 million shares available within the next few weeks. It has also created BC Craft Supply CO, a subsidiary which is the first ever all-craft licensed producer of cannabis products. It has a roster of over 100 craft growers, and is projected to have hundreds more within the next 12 months.
A few of the other brands of the Pasha family include CBD Therapeutics, Beard Brothers, and Baked Edibles Inc.
How can you get involved in Pasha Brands and what would that mean?
“An investment in Pasha Brands means and investment in a company that is bringing meaning to the regulated cannabis industry and helping small farmers get back into the industry they not only created but risked everything for while they had to dodge the heavy-handed tactics of police and government.”