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Manitoba - The Middle Child of Canada

Posted by Emma Baron on


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Song of the Week - One Great City! by The Weakerthans

"A darker grey is breaking through a lighter one" is just one of the choice lines in this great self-depreciating tune from a band born in Manitoba's capital city. If you've ever been to Winnipeg, you'll get it. Actually, if you've never been to Winnipeg, you'll probably still get it. All Mantioba jokes aside, this is a solid album. Once upon a time we owned it on compact disc, kids!
The Long Form - Is The Grass Greener In Manitoba?

Manitoba is the middle child of Canada. Wish we could take credit for that gem, but alas, it's from this great Narcity article on Manitoban definitions. Growing up in Northern Ontario, I have to admit that Winnipeg was our 'big city', so it will always have a place in my heart. I remember my dad making fun of his prairie cousins: 'Flatlanders', as he called them. In the grand scheme of Canadian news, it's a province you don't hear about a lot, they're mostly quiet over there, minding their own business.

Maybe that's why so it's annoying that they seem to be out-hipstering Ontario in the cannabis department. 

From well-dispersed locations in choice areas to an abundance of branded hats and hoodies, Winnipeg is kicking Toronto and Vancouver's butts when it comes to the cannabis retail experience. To be fair, sometimes it's the layout of neighbourhoods and schools in your city that determines whether cannabis stores can exist in the typically trendy areas, but sometimes it's your Premier... It's nice to see this commitment on the government's website:

"The Manitoba government has set a goal that within two years, 90 per cent of Manitobans should be able to access legal cannabis within a 30-minute drive or less."

So, who's really open for business? With 14 stores open for business in Winnipeg, they have almost triple the amount of retail locations in Toronto. Don't get us wrong, not everything is perfect in the prairies. There are a couple big hangups: no home grows, no smoking or vaping in provincial parks, there's a 'Social Responsibility Fee' on top of the excise tax... we could go on. The focus here is really on the aesthetics of the retail locations. Finally, a cannabis store that is starting to feel like a real experience.

 
Garden Variety was our favourite out of the stores we visited in Winnipeg. While we were impressed with the Canadiana vibes and the shelves upon shelves of branded merch at the Tweed store in Osborne Village, and the storage of cannabis outside of a vault right behind the cash register at Delta 9,  it was the quirky branding and super friendly staff that won us over at Garden Variety.  While the company is partially owned by Medipharm Labs, they're in partnership with Fisher River Cree Nation of Manitoba and Chippewas of the Thames of Ontario, along with Native Roots, a dispensary company out of the United States. We liked the recipes on their giant display screens, along with larger sample jars with nice visuals. Also, call us old-fashioned, but we loved the printed menu. Ultimately you must have known we'd prefer the most 'independent' dispensary.
The News

While press releases about the newest celebrity starting their own cannabis brands are usually giving us the yawns / eye rolls at this point, there is still room for this story if it has certain ingredients. 'Think BIG' caught our eye - the son of late rap artist Notorious BIG, C.J. Wallace, has started his own cannabis brand that aims to partner with NGOs and educational efforts to address the cultural issues around cannabis. Read more about how people of colour are claiming their place in the industry here. We're all for diversity in every industry, but especially cannabis.
The Social Calendar
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- Emma & Carol
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