Article by Kate Robertson, The Guardian
On a cool evening this past winter, Markham cannabis producer MedReleaf unveiled the first official branding for a legal recreational weed company at Toronto’s Opera House.
Inside, a white Bob Marley cover band called Mob Barley & the Railers played an enthusiastic but seemingly endless rendition of every greatest hits track, from No Woman No Cry to Get Up, Stand Up. The audience was made up of mostly white men, many of whom were wearing golf hats without even the tiniest wink of irony. There was a “hot box” photo booth in one corner and cardboard cut-outs of bongs on each table. Dundas West’s Dead Dog Records hosted a pop-up with crates of vinyl on offer on the other side.
To skirt legalities (after all, recreational pot isn’t legal yet), San Rafael ‘71 launched with a beer: 4:20 Pale Ale – with 4.20% alcohol – was made by Amsterdam Brewing, and it’s available in stores. You may have seen their posters around the city. An enormous version hung on one side of the venue at the launch, reading, in enormous letters: Beer Today. Bong Tomorrow.
“This is uh, kinda weird, eh?” I said, searching for someone even slightly self-aware, to the woman behind the records. But she just laughed, like a true professional, and politely smiled.
“Cannabis is not a counter-culture movement anymore,” declares the artist and musician Kristian North on the phone from Montreal.
After playing in the noisy Victoria, British Columbia, band Babysitter, North released his first solo album, The Last Rock N Roll Record, in March, a Lou Reed-style singer/songwriter reinvention.