Article by Sean Fitzgerald, 24 Hrs
Alan Gertner is a very interesting person.
The 32-year-old entrepreneur spent a number of years travelling the world while working for Google – living in New York, San Francisco, Bangkok and Singapore – and making mountains of money. But while heading to a voodoo ceremony in Ghana one day, he discussed his life with a Ghanaian tour guide and came to a realization: He wasn’t happy at all.
So, after a period of soul-searching, he recently returned to his home base of Toronto and started a new company with his father: Tokyo Smoke.
Basically, he left Google to get into the weed business. And he’s never been happier.
The Toronto location of Tokyo Smoke, situated in a modified shipping container on Adelaide St. W., serves a number of functions: You can grab a coffee, shop for branded clothing and pick up cannabis paraphernalia, all in an inspiring atmosphere.
“We wanted to build a beautiful experience centre,” he says to 24 Hours. “So you can come in and have a beautiful cortado or latte or flat white, and while drinking your coffee, you can peruse the detailed and lovely space, and see the finest in modern marijuana paraphernalia and accessories.”
Tokyo Smoke currently has an agreement with one of the largest producers of medical marijuana in Canada, Aphria, and Gertner says that medical marijuana users will be able to order cannabis from his brand starting in January. And once the federal government legalizes pot next year, Gertner and his father will be well positioned to shift into the retail marijuana industry.