Article by Ryan Fink, Lift
You might recall that back in the Fall, one-time CBC Dragon Arlene Dickinson joined the board at Aphria. For many, this cemented a truth that they had been feeling or predicting for some time: that the Canadian cannabis industry has finally come to a place where mainstream investors are no longer worried about being branded as reckless mavericks, that the market has a strong future, and that participating in it doesn’t have to mean getting in bed with the mob, or being perceived as such.
What is it that has these two tycoons so interested? For many, Tokyo Smoke’s chique branding represents the future of consumer cannabis. While historically, most brands in the cannabis space have been aimed at the lifestyle stoner, Tokyo Smoke is designed to appeal to a much larger demographic: people who use cannabis, but don’t see it as something that should define their self-image or how others perceive them.
To date, Tokyo Smoke has been carefully establishing its brand by curating designer clothing, elegant and discreet smoking accessories, and premium coffee in their store. However, coincidentally enough, it has been announced that they have entered a partnership with Aphria to release four Tokyo Smoke branded strains of medical cannabis to Aphria’s ACMPR customers—a move that is no doubt intended to be a test run for what will come in the future recreational market (much like Leafs by Snoop at Tweed).
As they say in Dragons’ Den: two Dragons are better than one, and it looks like this is turning out to be a two Dragon deal, with Arlene at Aphria and Brett at Tokyo smoke. While it’s nice to see them working together again, there is another matter that these two have recently been publicly disagreeing on: Kevin O’Leary’s current bid to win leadership of the Conservative Party.