With Canada’s grand legalization experiment well underway, we’ve been able to see how some legacy brands have been able to survive and thrive in the legal market. These companies spent years perfecting their products and branding in the hopes of joining the legal market someday. It worked. While these products may once have only been found under pop-up tents around Vancouver or Toronto — or hand-delivered, if you knew who to call — they’re now sitting pretty on store shelves.
From a nondescript warehouse to storefronts in Ontario and British Columbia, “Canada’s most notorious cannabis brand” is a little more torious now that it’s legal. Ghost Drops recently launched a new brand platform — The League — aimed at helping other legacy brands transition to the legal market. The company called the move its “core business strategy” in a release. The League’s first brand is Hasho, from well-known Toronto-based hash maker Mike “Hasho” Imposimato.
Boutique weed growers Carmel are trying to convince legacy connoisseurs that the legal market can be just as good. The former “ride or die” grey marketeers have now found a home in Ontario’s legal market, aiming to push the scientific boundaries of what legal cannabis can look like, through limited drops of unique strains. Carmel’s number 1 challenge? “Tons of paperwork,” according to a profile of founders Drew Lian and Chris Marmion.
“Canada’s OG legacy pre-roll brand” is still doing what it does best: making fat joints. They launched last year as a legal outfit and have since partnered with companies like AHLOT, which releases limited edition weed drops, and psychedelic therapy brand B.C. Craft Supply Co. Their branding takes inspiration from the B.C. wilderness, with bear and camping themes throughout.
flir creates epicurean delights for a “discerning food-forward audience” — which is a fancy way of saying it makes delicious chocolate that gets you high. Formerly EP Infusions, the flir team has gone from cooking up CBD powerballs in their home kitchen to utilizing high-end technology to transform cannabis oil into water-soluble emulsions that don’t even taste like weed. The company is also in the “brand house” game as part of Gallery Brands, which aims to help other legacy outfits transition to the legal market.
Three-time Cannabis Cup-winning Dymond Concentrates is no stranger to the industry. The company is “soil to oil,” meaning they manage every part of cannabis cultivation to the final product, whether it be shatter, resin, or their titular diamonds. Legalization has allowed Dymond to not only make their own products but to expand into processing other people’s harvests into extracts for a fee.
Fritz’s Cannabis Company
Ari Cohen and Tabitha Fritz started out in a Toronto kitchen making edibles out of vaporized weed. These days, the small batch producer is still cranking out treats — on a retail scale. They pride themselves on building flavors that work with the plant, instead of trying to cover it up.
THC Canada was one of those pre-legalization dispensaries that didn’t feel quite real. Since 2016, the company has been operating in South Vancouver, relocating and reopening many times. They reopened legally in 2020 and have never looked back, forming a Genius-bar aesthetic with lots of glossy whites. The brand focuses on small-batch flower for an experienced customer base.
Starting in 2013 before legalization, ARCannabis served about 45,000 people through its 10 stores across Canada. They’ve since shuttered and reopened to become a full legal player. The company is now Vancouver’s biggest cannabis chain with four stores in the city.