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Creator Spotlight: Brittney Guthrie (How Bout This Events / RCCBC)

On our latest Creator Spotlight series, we’re featuring a local cannabis pioneer that has been working with cannabis for over 18 years. Her name is Brittney Guthrie, and she is the founder of How Bout This events and an executive member of the Retail Cannabis Council of British Columbia. Her enthusiasm to host unique experiential cannabis events, along with pushing legislation that advances the cannabis retail system, is second to none. Read more below on this beauty!

Introduce yourself and what do you do?

Brittney Guthrie – Cannabis Consultant and Event Coordinator 

Can you share any turning points in your career or particular moments of success?

For 2024 I made it my mission to open doors for the cannabis industry into more public age-gated environments. 21,000 impressions at The Taboo Show was just a start! 

Describe your cannabis use in 3 words.

DO EPIC SHIT

Describe the impact Cannabis has had on your life?
Cannabis has been a part of my life for almost 18 years and through trial and tribulations it’s still a complicated question to answer. Where some doors have opened many have closed and the stigmas we face in this industry have had a huge impact on that. I have found that focusing on the experience of the product and not the cannabis itself has been an easier narrative to work with the public. Between my time pre legalization and post legalization it’s been a rollercoaster but I’m stronger for it! 

” Between my time pre legalization and post legalization it’s been a rollercoaster but I’m stronger for it! “

Where and when were you introduced to cannabis for the first time?

I grew up on Vancouver Island (Nanaimo) and fell in love with cannabis at 15. If I recall it was a dark dingy unfinished basement full of teenagers and a Volcano. Wouldn’t have had it any other way! 

What’s your favourite post-smoke activity? Workout? Food?

I like to get weird… whatever that entails. I’ll try anything twice! 

What music do you vibe to when using Cannabis?

If I am not head banging to Rock and Metal I’ve probably got some 90’s rap on. 

“I’m really enjoying creating custom drinks using the current selection we have on the market”

If you could sesh with one person dead or alive, who would it be?

I would have a huge bong toke and cuddle with my pug Mario that passed away almost ten years ago now. My soul mate. Love you buddy. 

What are your favourite ways to consume cannabis (joints, vapes, edibles, beverages etc.) and why?

For some reason I could never put down the bong but I’m pretty happy with anything these days! I’m really enjoying creating custom drinks using the current selection we have on the market but really hoping to see some tinctures come out so I can have more structure for my Canna – Bevvy Bars!

Creator Spotlight: Brad Quevillon (COO/Founder of West Blvd Cannabis)

On this special edition of our Creator Spotlight series, we feature our hometown hero Brad Quevillon who is the Chief Operating Officer and Founder of West Blvd Cannabis. Brad has been in the cannabis industry over the last 13 years, where he witnessed the entire transition from legacy to legal. His wealth of cannabis knowledge is next level and we’re certain you’ll enjoy getting to know Brad more. Enjoy!

Introduce yourself and what do you do?

My name is Brad Quevillon, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer for West Blvd Cannabis.  With over 13 years of industry experience now, I’ve been involved in every aspect of the cannabis industry. I got my start in Vancouver’s dispensary boom in the early 2010’s after I came home from university.  I was a kinesiology major in university so my introduction to cannabis was rooted in health and science.  Over the years, we began developing edibles and oils to offer new methods of cannabis consumption, which culminated in our plan to launch our processing facility.  With West Blvd, at a high level I oversee day-to-day operations, regulatory affairs, and Quality Control.

Can you share any turning points in your career or particular moments of success?

Having been in the cannabis industry for over 13 years, the obvious turning point would have to be the federal legalization of cannabis.  Though not without its challenges, it has been an incredible experience bringing this business from the legacy space to the legal market.  As anyone in the industry can tell you, the successes are hard to come by without struggle, but the biggest moment for myself was the day we officially received our processing licence from Health Canada.

Describe your cannabis use in 3 words.

Evening health supplementation 😉

Describe the impact Cannabis has had on your life?
From a work-life perspective, cannabis has been my life for over a decade now.  I’ve been involved in just about every aspect of the industry through every stage of legalization. I’ve been fortunate enough to be in the industry as it evolved from black to grey to legal so it’s safe to say it’s an integral part of my life.

“From a work-life perspective, cannabis has been my life for over a decade now”

Where and when were you introduced to cannabis for the first time?

I was introduced to cannabis when I was young through general proximity to my brother (allegedly).  I never really partook until my later years as I was the quiet, socially-awkward kid who played basketball 24/7.

What’s your favourite post-smoke activity? Workout? Food?

I’m far from a functional-stoner, so without a doubt it’s throwing on a movie and immersing myself.  That or recollecting anxiety ridden memories from the 3rd grade.  As far as munchies go, slide me some Sweet Chili Heat Doritos and I’m golden.

What music do you vibe to when using Cannabis?

I listen to it all.

“I think there is going to be a huge wave of alcohol consumers transitioning to the cannabis industry. “

If you could sesh with one person dead or alive, who would it be?

Wow.  I don’t know if I can do one.  Group sesh would be Mansa Musa, Joan of Arc, and Ghengis Khan.

What are your favourite ways to consume cannabis (joints, vapes, edibles, beverages etc.) and why?

Lately, it’s been beverages. I think there is going to be a huge wave of alcohol consumers transitioning to the cannabis industry.  California sober baby.

Creator Spotlight: Angela Marks (Founder of B.C. Trimmers)

This months Creator Spotlight features the Founder and Owner of BC Trimmers, Angela Marks. With a decade of cannabis experience under her belt, she’s changed the game in hand and machine trimming methods, making BC Trimmers the go-to choice for Licensed Producers and Micro Cultivators alike. Her story is short, sweet and to the point. Enjoy!

Introduce yourself and what do you do?

My name is Angela Marks, and I am the CEO and Founder of B.C. Trimmers.

Can you share any turning points in your career or particular moments of success?

One of my most successful moments was being nominated for Women in Weed at the Toronto Cannabis Awards.

Describe your cannabis use in 3 words.

CBD is life.

Describe the impact Cannabis has had on your life?
Cannabis has impacted my life, from helping me with anxiety and mental health to starting a successful company! I love this [cannabis] industry and the people in it as well!

“Cannabis has impacted my life, from helping me with anxiety and mental health to starting a successful company!”

Where and when were you introduced to cannabis for the first time?

[It was in] Mission B.C. – skipped the second period and smoked out of a pop can on the tennis court behind the school.

What’s your favourite post-smoke activity? Workout? Food?

Food 100% and watching a good movie, and passing out.

What music do you vibe to when using Cannabis?

Old school rap… N.W.A., Biggie Smalls, etc.

“I like using oils and topicals… especially CBD. At night; I have trouble sleeping and find it helps me best.”

If you could sesh with one person dead or alive, who would it be?

Snoop Dogg all the way.

What are your favourite ways to consume cannabis (joints, vapes, edibles, beverages etc.) and why?

I like using oils and topicals… especially CBD. At night; I have trouble sleeping and find it helps me best.

Is there anything interesting that you’d like to share with the Choklit Park community? (feel free to share any important projects or exciting news you’d like our community to know!)

B.C. Trimmers is working on branching out to Kelowna/Vancouver Island, so keep an eye out!

Creator Spotlight: Nico Sto Tomas (Co-Founder / CMO of West Blvd Cannabis)

On this special Creator Spotlight, we feature our Co-Founder Nico Sto Tomas! Nico has worked in the legacy cannabis space prior to legalization and has spent the last 4 years as the Chief Marketing Officer of West Blvd Cannabis. Before venturing in the cannabis space, Nico spent the last 13 years working in the Event Planning and Nightlife industry as the Co-Founder of Hyphy Events. He’s had the privilege to work with major acts such as Drake, Wu-Tang, Miguel, and many more. His passion for cannabis runs deep and we’re excited to feature him today! Enjoy. 

Introduce yourself and what do you do?

My name is Nico Sto Tomas, and I am the Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of West Blvd Cannabis. I was one of the 4 founding partners back in 2018, where we conceptualized the idea in a small board room office. Back then, Brad, Connor and Myself were operating one of the first municipally licensed dispensaries on 10th and Sasamat prior to legalization. Once cannabis was federally legal in 2018, we noticed a shift in the retail industry so we decided to pivot into manufacturing and secured our existing location in Mount Pleasant. Today, we currently have our Micro-Processing License, Dried Flower Sales License, R&D license, and are waiting for our Edibles Sales License. My main responsibilities, at a high level, as CMO of West Blvd Cannabis is to oversee all of the marketing strategy and activities for all of our subsidiary brands (Choklit Park, Gladstone and Farm & Florist) while ensuring our Marketing team is aligned with our company goals. 

Can you share any turning points in your career or particular moments of success?

My journey in the cannabis industry has been interesting to say the least. I thought this industry was an extremely exciting opportunity when the federal government first announced its plan to legalize the plant back in 2014. I knew right away that i wanted to put my stake in this industry, but it’s been nothing but hurdles and obstacles. Needless to say, I’ve had some exciting milestones in my career. The most notable was when we first received our Micro-Processing license for our facility. After waiting 9 months for our build and development permits, 6 months for our build out, and waiting another 8 months for Health Canada response, it was most definitely the biggest milestone in my Cannabis career thus far. The second notable moment is when we made our first Choklit Park sale to the BCLDB this past November. 

Describe your cannabis use in 3 words.

Pass the blunt.

Describe the impact Cannabis has had on your life?
Cannabis has had an immense impact in my personal life, from dealing with family disease to smoking to release some stress. My grandma would whoop my ass back in the day when I would smoke weed. But when she was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, our family turned to cannabis oil as a form of pain relief for her. Personally, consuming cannabis is an amazing tool to help ground myself from external problems. We have a ton going on right now, so a joint to unwind is much needed after a long stressful day. 

“Personally, consuming cannabis is an amazing tool to help ground myself from external problems.”

Where and when were you introduced to cannabis for the first time?

I have vague memories of my dad and uncles smoking weed at the family BBQs when i was in elementary school. My fam was pretty liberal lol. However, the first time I smoked weed was with my cousins at a park when i was grade 9. I believe it was straight out of an apple (bong.)

What’s your favourite post-smoke activity? Workout? Food?

I’d call myself a ‘functional stoner’. One of my favourite post-smoke activities is to workout. I feel like I’m more aware of my technique/form and can actually push myself to get a better pump while high. 

What music do you vibe to when using Cannabis?

I was born and raised listening to R&B and Hip Hop, so naturally this is the type of music I play when i’m stoned. However, I also love to bang the Jazz Vibes playlist to get into a flow state.

“There’s nothing like analyzing bud structures, terpene profiles, trichomes and the stickiness of the buds before you stick it into the buster. “

If you could sesh with one person dead or alive, who would it be?

I’d love to smoke with Rick Rubin. I’m a huge fan of some of the artists he’s worked with. His outlook on life and ability to manage energy is also next level.

What are your favourite ways to consume cannabis (joints, vapes, edibles, beverages etc.) and why?

I’ve always loved the ritual of rolling a joint or blunt. There’s nothing like analyzing bud structures, terpene profiles, trichomes and the stickiness of the buds before you stick it into the buster. I also take pride in the joints that I roll and consider it a civic duty to roll a proper joint for the friends I’m sharing it with. 

Is there anything interesting that you’d like to share with the Choklit Park community? (feel free to share any important projects or exciting news you’d like our community to know!)

We’ve been approved for a couple new strains for Choklit Park which we’ll be announcing very soon. We’re also launching our culinary cannabis, called Farm & Florist, over the next couple months. Lastly, we are planning an epic 4/20 party that will feature some of the biggest Hip Hop names today so definitely stay tuned for that <3.

Creator Spotlight: Stephanie Martens (Founder of Flamingo Consulting)

We are pleased to introduce you to Stephanie Martens, Founder and President of Flamingo Consulting. Steph has spent the last 5 years in the cannabis space, consulting for various brands on Marketing, Communications and Investor Relations. Prior to cannabis, she worked in the Hospitality Industry where she was recognized for operational excellence. Our team had the pleasure to get connect with Stephanie over the last year, and we’re stoked you’ll get to know her too. 

Introduce yourself and what do you do?

I am Steph Martens, an entrepreneur located in Vancouver, BC. I have a passion for building startups in emerging industries like cannabis. Professionally and personally, I highly value connection, curiosity, problem solving, strategy, process implementation, brand and marketing strategy. I currently consult for a boutique investor relations agency, irlabs Inc. as their VP of IR & Communications, though we do much more than the standard. I lead the cannabis client files due to my institutional knowledge, understanding of compliant marketing etc. Alongside my career, I always find time for fun, fitness, wellness, nature and adventure. Fun and adventure include roadtrips in my RV, music festivals, camping, moon bathing, forest baths – many reasons I love living in BC as I am originally from Montreal and spent six years in Toronto, which I still visit for business and pleasure.

Can you share any turning points in your career or particular moments of success?

Prior to cannabis I worked in hospitality management, in 2015 the restaurant I ran awarded me recognition for operational excellence. The last five years in cannabis has felt like a decade or more due to its fast pace. It has been filled with an abundance of successful moments, many due to connections I have made and maintained, stemming from trade show floors, networking events, projects and collaborations. I had the opportunity to work on procurement and alongside a commercialization team, launching SKUs for two concentrates brands. A notable highlight was taking a 3 1/2 week RV trip with a colleague in summer 2021 from Toronto to Calgary and visiting a total of 169 cannabis retailers in many cities and provinces along the way – definitely a core career memory and not for the faint of heart. Road life requires discipline while maintaining work priorities along the way.

Describe your cannabis use in 3 words.

It has ebbed and flowed over my 20+ year relationship with the plant. Today I would say: Ritual. Enhance. Expand.

Describe the impact Cannabis has had on your life?

It has had an immense impact on my life and career development. I have been around the plant for 23 years, my first interaction included me stumbling upon a grow in the forest near my family’s cottage in Québec. My brother is 10 years older than I and has been a consumer since his youth, he was and still is a passionate grower, medically licensed in that province. I have always had cannabis around me and it was never stigmatized. I gravitated towards it for creativity, mood enhancement, laughter and as part of a connection or group ritual, and still do. The advantage of working in weed has gained me knowledge than many friends, colleagues, family come to me to access. I provide product and strain recommendations to people often and am grateful to hear it produces the effect they’re seeking.

“I have always had cannabis around me and it was never stigmatized.”

Where and when were you introduced to cannabis for the first time?

Five years old was my first interaction with the full plant. My brother tucked some fan leaves into my dress pockets and presented me to my mother who laughed. At 12 I purposefully went on a forest walk to find similar plants and kept leaves in my high school year book to dry them out. First time consuming via inhalation was 12 years old with two grade school friends on top of a playground structure in a local park.

What’s your favourite post-smoke activity? Workout? Food?

Nature or chilling. I do not have much chill as a type A leaning entrepreneur so I love to consume solo or with friends and lean into R&R. I enjoy consuming and doing yoga on occasion, though it’s not part of my practice regularly.

What music do you vibe to when using Cannabis?

I have a diverse playlist, it’s all over the map. Usually reggae – love some Nightmares on Wax and Fat Freddy’s Drop. Also, electronic. Current favourite is Polo & Pan.

“I like the ritual of a joint and the fact that I can feel its effects sooner so I know what I am getting, also the flavour profile experience. “

If you could sesh with one person dead or alive, who would it be?

Sue Johanson – iykyk

What are your favourite ways to consume cannabis (joints, vapes, edibles, beverages etc.) and why?

Joints and/ or edibles. I like the ritual of a joint and the fact that I can feel its effects sooner so I know what I am getting, also the flavour profile experience. Edibles are great for a night out and always produce laughs, one of my main goals when consuming cannabis, with the added bonus of no hang over.

Is there anything interesting that you’d like to share with the Choklit Park community? (feel free to share any important projects or exciting news you’d like our community to know!)

As mentioned above I own an RV with one of my best friends, who I met working at my first cannabis start up in 2018. We became business partners in 2021 and took our 29 foot motor home on the road lots last year, over 12,000 kms and five music festivals. It is fully equipped – shower, fridge, two double beds, kitchen and a retro style. We are deeply passionate about adventure in both life and career. We bought it as a business opportunity, with a goal of renting it to others so they can experience the freedom that life on the road offers. There is a bit of work to do on it, fortunately ourselves and our network will come together to complete that early this year. My Mz. Frizzle plan came to fruition in 2022 and I hope to share it with others this year.

Creator Spotlight: Casey Hiltemann, CEO of Budtenders Association

Introducing Casey Hiltemann, CEO and Founder of the Budtenders Association, in our latest Creator Spotlight feature. With a decade of experience in various industries, including hospitality, global supply chain, logistics, and health & wellness, Casey is a true entrepreneur at heart. However, her passion for cannabis runs deep, rooted in her personal connection to the plant from a young age. Through her work with the Budtenders Association, Casey aims to break down the negative stereotypes surrounding cannabis and promote its many benefits. Join us as we dive into our exclusive interview with Casey and learn more about her inspiring journey.

Introduce yourself and what do you do?

My name is Casey Hiltemann. I am a student of life, lover of plants and people, driven by a nourishing curiosity and interest in the human potential. Over the past decade I have dedicated my time and energy to thrilling entrepreneurial endeavors across the hospitality, global supply chain, logistics, health & wellness sectors. In my day-to-day I combine my passions for travel, plant medicine, and the collective with learned knowledge and intuition to create global solutions enabling education and research. Today that locates me in Canada, since my arrival here in 2016 shortly after learning of the pending legalization of cannabis for adult-use.

With due respect to a strong network of individuals and a growing community of passionate educators, this journey led me to founding one of the world’s first organizations supporting, empowering and elevating the main conduit between the cultivators of this sacred plant and consumers – Budtenders. Currently I am the CEO for Budtenders Association and its subsidiaries.

Can you share any turning points in your career or particular moments of success?

My career has been a zigzag of turning points – from acquiring my first customer and dollar made, selling cannabis internationally, between ages 13 to 19 – to legally owning, operating and advising small businesses to publicly traded companies.
A lot of decisions between and during that time were questionable and often fear-based but what I learned in hindsight (knowledge I now use to keep things in perspective) is that my biggest mistakes and fears became my biggest successes and opportunities.

Over the past 2 years during the pandemic; with the gift of solitude, self-reflection and improved health, I have adopted a growth mindset allowing me to see every uncomfortable situation as a challenge and necessary means to gain a deeper understanding of the natural complexities underlying simple concepts. This has completely reshaped how I approach business – it fuels my motivation to show up consistently, with a strong sense of purpose and non-attachment to a particular outcome.

Describe your cannabis use in 3 words.

A profound connection.

Describe the impact Cannabis has had on your life?

My purpose in this life is to de-stigmatize, facilitate and restore the organic, historic connection between the wisdom of plants and people. My connection with cannabis is intimate and founded early in life. From what some (mostly teachers and relatives) would describe as a tumultuous relationship of unconscious self-medication through my teenage years as I sought escape from the overwhelming nature of societal pressures and utter confusion, to working with cannabis as a physical healing modality, and now a sacred ritual, unifying practice, and recreational supplement of choice – without cannabis, I’m not where I am today.

“My purpose in this life is to de-stigmatize, facilitate and restore the organic, historic connection between the wisdom of plants and people. “

Where and when were you introduced to cannabis for the first time?

I’m from Amsterdam so this plant has been around during my upbringing and notably socially accepted from a very young age. When I was 11 and the youngest of all my cousins. One summer night my aunts, uncles, father and brother were all huddled around a bonfire in the backyard, a shared laughter and sense of peace protruded the air, connecting everyone in a way I noticed alcohol didn’t. That night I ripped my first bong in the safety of my community and the rest is history.

What’s your favourite post-smoke activity? Workout? Food?

Philosophizing with friends, yoga, meditating, dancing, sex, eating fruit and enjoying warm beverages are moments I practice in communion with cannabis. My consumption is mindful and tailored to target, enhance or inhibit certain receptors in the body thereby, promote homeostasis, balance and wellbeing to accompany a desired experience.

What music do you vibe to when using Cannabis?

I have a playlist for every time of day, mood and creative flow state but generally I trust spotify to play something that matches the current vibe! Music plays just as big of a role as cannabis does in the improvement of my physical and mental wellbeing.

“Philosophizing with friends, yoga, meditating, dancing, sex, eating fruit and enjoying warm beverages are moments I practice in communion with cannabis. “

If you could sesh with one person dead or alive, who would it be?

Maria Sabina Magdalena Garcia

What are your favourite ways to consume cannabis (joints, vapes, edibles, beverages etc.) and why?

For me nothing beats the ritual, intimacy and skill of rolling a proper joint filled with a lovingly cared for and perfectly cured flower.

I like the clarity, cleanliness and full spectrum benefits of a live rosin dab and during my travels I have embraced the convenience and discretion that vape carts offer!

Beverages are a great option for an indoor smoke-free environment or just a refreshing recreational alternative to alcohol when meeting with friends and family. This is a great format to introduce people who want to reduce or quit alcohol consumption – a very real global crisis that, according to the World Health Organization, results in 3 millions deaths every year. I’m exploring this category more and excited for further innovation.

Is there anything interesting that you’d like to share with the Choklit Park community? (feel free to share any important projects or exciting news you’d like our community to know!)

2023 is a year of evolution and renewed direction for Budtenders Association and the announcement of important partnerships in education, research and data analysis with like-minded companies. These strategic partnerships have been formed and nurtured to carry our mission and vision across borders and to new heights.

Our data hub and interactive dashboard (which collects, analyzes and reports on large qualitative and quantitative data sets) that delivers key insights and information around quality parameters, consistency, consumer preferences and industry benchmarking is launching this year!

Personally, I’ve been cultivating productive habits, behaviors, emotions and relationships which enable me to live my truest expression as a human being. Always adding to my toolbox and learning with others, I look forward to sharing more on upcoming community projects outside of the cannabis industry.

Reminder: you are a creator and have the power to choose your reality.

– Casey

Creator Spotlight: Noah Johnson, Master Grower of J Buds.

Our 11th Creator Spotlight series features the master grower, Noah Johnson, from the legendary J Buds. A family owned and operated micro-cultivation facility in Summerland, brothers Noah and Dillion Johnson work together to lead the cultivation team. As an Indigenous-owned company they encourage a diverse working environment and works hard to ensure limits on the environmental impact of all activities that JBuds is involved with. The team at Choklit Park are extremely excited to work with J Buds to launch our latest strain, Flawless Victory

Introduce yourself and what do you do?

My name is Noah Johnson and I am the Master Grower at JBuds

Can you share any turning points in your career or particular moments of success?

As a family run organization, we built JBuds from the ground up. A major turning point was when our very first cultivar “Chimpmints” hit the market and was a success.

Describe your cannabis use in 3 words.

Educational, Purposeful, Moderate.

Describe the impact Cannabis has had on your life?

Cannabis and legalization has completely changed my life path. 5 years ago, I had no idea what I wanted to do. Since entering the industry I’ve met a ton of new friends and people who I now consider family.

“Cannabis and legalization has completely changed my life path. 5 years ago, I had no idea what I wanted to do.”

Where and when were you introduced to cannabis for the first time?

I had tried cannabis before legalization. However; I was originally introduced to cannabis plants in 2019 when a friend brought us 4 of his outdoor plants to take care of while he was away during the summer.

What’s your favourite post-smoke activity? Workout? Food?

My favourite post smoke activity would have to be creating art.

What music do you vibe to when using Cannabis?

I vibe to hip hop & rap while I smoke kush. After a long day I might switch to some Mac DeMarco just to chill and unwind.

“I would sesh with “Noah” the man who built the Ark in the bible.”

If you could sesh with one person dead or alive, who would it be?

I would sesh with “Noah” the man who built the Ark in the bible.

What are your favourite ways to consume cannabis (joints, vapes, edibles, beverages etc.) and why?

I like to consume cannabis through joints to taste the flavour and also dab pens to be discrete about it at a function.

Is there anything interesting that you’d like to share with the Choklit Park community? (feel free to share any important projects or exciting news you’d like our community to know!)

[The JBuds] plants are grown with love and care. 

Creator Spotlight: Andrea Dobbs, Co-Founder Village Bloomery.

On the 10th edition of our Creator Spotlight series, we are honoured to chat with a local retail pioneer who helped pave the way for cannabis legalization in Vancouver, BC. Andrea Dobbs, Co-Founder of Village Bloomery, was one of the first cannabis retailers that opened pre-legalization 7 years ago. Her passion for cannabis and education is truly inspiring and her commitment to build an inclusive community is undeniable. We are grateful to feature her today!

Introduce yourself and what do you do?

My name is Andrea Dobbs. I am the co-founder of Village Bloomery, a licensed Cannabis Retail shop in Vancouver BC. We’re celebrating our 7th year in the space and it’s been quite a ride! I wear lots of hats. I work in the shop as a bloom tender when needed, I support the curation of the menu both for Cannabis products and accessories, I work very closely with building the brand and all that it entails. I am most passionate about service design. I bring to my position 40+ years of education that is both formal in that I have a degree in design for the retail space as well as lived experience. It can feel isolating to be working in an environment that is teaming with people who come from the corporate sector as they seem to speak a different language that I am unfamiliar with but at the end of the day we are all charting new paths on the shoulders of people who created this opportunity to work in a legal cannabis marketplace. I am forever grateful for the work that was done and continues to be done to make this space more humane and inclusive.

Can you share any turning points in your career or particular moments of success?

There have been many moments over the 7 year span and they will differ greatly due to the nature of regulation. One of the most touching moments for me pre regulation was working with a family whose 94 year old father was suffering greatly under advanced Parkinsons. It was so enriching to witness how their experimentation with Cannabis not only enhanced his quality of life but it also brought them together as a family unit. They got their Dad back and that was epic. Fast forward to regulated times I can say this most recent experience we all had with the BCGEU strike was a success. It led to a victory in that we as an industry were able to put pressure on the decision makers to proceed with the promised Direct Delivery program. It was important to me that we honor the BCGEU workers as well as create an environment where we as retailers could work directly with BC’s craft/micro producers. The amount of energy that was spent behind the scenes networking and collaborating with other industry powerhouses was really affirming. It let me see that there is real potential to create a thriving and genuine Cannabis marketplace community.

Describe your cannabis use in 3 words.

Inspired. Delicious. Centering. 

Describe the impact Cannabis has had on your life?

It has been huge. I’m a late bloomer and didn’t really begin to enjoy Cannabis until I was 48 years old. I approached it first as a therapeutic tool to manage my peri-menopausal  experience and that was mostly centered around oil drops, topicals and CBD. Fast forward I’ve fallen in love with the plant in its many forms and I now grow it, I roll joints and smoke them daily, I occasionally enjoy bong sips ( I call it bonging) and make my own topicals and oil drops. It has greatly impacted my curiosity, my ability to play and my capacity to design solutions to trying scenarios.  More recently it is supporting my exploration into meditation. Overall the impact has been positive. Being in the “Business of Cannabis” has its downsides for sure but at least for me it always comes back to the fact that I love Cannabis inside and out.

“When he asked if I”d like a puff I said yes. It was really fun. I laughed like I hadn’t laughed in a long time”

Where and when were you introduced to cannabis for the first time?

My first time was when I was 17 years old. I smoked from a joint that a boyfriend had carefully rolled. It was fun to watch him grind the flower and carefully roll it. When he asked if I”d like a puff I said yes. It was really fun. I laughed like I hadn’t laughed in a long time, I felt free to be silly and I was not concerned about being cool or sophisticated. I felt free to be me. I tried it a few times after that but found that I just felt tired so I thought Cannabis was not for me. In hindsight I wish I had known more about how cultivars and terpenes work so that I could have explored more of what worked for me. That said, I’m glad to be exploring it now because I have more freedom to focus on what I enjoy now that my kids are all grown.

What’s your favourite post-smoke activity? Workout? Food?

Ooh! So many things to choose from. Sometimes I feel like crafting, sometimes I want to do yoga, other times I want to design! It really depends. For the most part I’d say I want to do creative things.  A favourite post smoke snack is a medjool date stuffed with salted crunchy peanut butter topped with a piece of 90% dark chocolate. Dreamy!

What music do you vibe to when using Cannabis?
I’m all over the place here. I love to dance so you can turn on some 1980’s R&B and I’m in. A favourite is the Gap Band “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” I also really like No Name and Robert Glasper. I like music that you can move to and that encourages a playful vibe. The Lofi genre is pretty cool too.

“I’ve tried cannabis most of the ways but I’m old school and lean into joints almost exclusively”

If you could sesh with one person dead or alive, who would it be?

This made me laugh out loud. I have two choices. If the flower is activating and energetic I’d pick Marie Kondo to Spark Joy with! I just think her gentle and positive nature is intoxicating and her ability to get things sorted is epic. I have lots of Virgo in my chart and I love a good organizing session! If the cultivar leans on the chill side I’d pick Alok (alokvmenon on Insta) because their way of speaking is both touching and poetic and their sense of humour makes me think critically about how society is structured. I am enriched by just their instagram account so a session would be epic. I should mention I have zero idea if either of them are 420 friendly but there you have it!

What are your favourite ways to consume cannabis (joints, vapes, edibles, beverages etc.) and why?

Joints all day every day BUT I will admit that I enjoy beverages more than I thought I might. Joints I dig because I like seeing the flower in its full form. I like to smell it, touch it and grind it up. I like the experience of rolling it even though I am still practicing at rolling. I like the dry pull becasue it gives me information around the flavours I’m about to engage with and then I enjoy the breath work that comes with smoking. I like that it can be a social moment and I also enjoy it when I’m walking my dog alone. I like that it is an experience I can control in that I can feel the elevation real time and when I’m good I can stop. That isn’t always an option with an edible. I also like that it doesn’t last as long as some other modalities. That said, if I am looking at it from a therapeutic lense I’d lean on ingesting because 9 out of 10 times what I’m looking at is supporting my sleep and longer is better in that department. Topicals are also a love. A good bath soak/bomb is heaven and I dig all of the creams and lotions.

Is there anything interesting that you’d like to share with the Choklit Park community? (feel free to share any important projects or exciting news you’d like our community to know!)

I am so happy that Choklit Park is a community! I used to play in Choklit park when I was a kid. It was an adventre playgound in the 70’s with a huge slide and a zipline. It was a place where I felt excited about life and free to explore it so it feels kind of appropriate to be discussing Cannabis in correlation with Choklit Park. Cannabis brings out the kid in me! That sense of adventure is necessary when being in this space. It’s not for the feignt of heart. We tried opening a second shop in Victoria and it proved to be more than we could handle due to multiple challenges. We had to make the tough decision to step away from that opportunity. That was a bitter pill to swallow because we really loved Victoria. On the other hand we are working on opening a second Vancouver shop in the 2100 block of East Hastings. That’s a 5 minute walk from my house so I’m excited to be able to both live and work in my home community. The original shop in South False Creek is our rock and we feel so supported and blessed to have the support of the folks who go out of their way to support us there. It is because of that support that we feel empowered to keep working at building upon our dream.

Creator Spotlight: Daryn Medwid, CRO of West Blvd Cannabis

On the 9th episode of the Creator Spotlight Series, we interviewed Daryn Medwid who is the CRO of West Blvd Cannabis. Daryn has a wealth of experience under his belt, from spending 13 years at Diageo to (most recently) exiting Experion Wellness/Citizen Stash as their COO. His passion and perspective for the cannabis industry is inspiring and we are truly honoured to feature him today.

Introduce yourself and what do you do?

Hey! I’m Daryn Medwid and I’m the Chief Revenue Officer at West Blvd Cannabis but I get to wear lots of hats. It’s a very collaborative environment so, while I get to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to drive revenue, I also get to weigh in on a lot of the commercial and operational aspects of the business.

Can you share any turning points in your career or particular moments of success?

I’ve had a fun career and have had the opportunity to be a part of some cool projects all of which might count as turning points whether they were successful or not…there’s always something to learn whether you knock it out of the park or strike out. To make this answer relevant I’ll refer to my time at Citizen Stash and our 12 Joints of Christmas preroll mixer pack which was released during the 2021 holiday season across Canada. We conceived of the idea in February of that year and between Covid, floods preventing access to our facility, supply chain craziness, we still barely delivered on time. We took preorders for 70,000 cases but only had the capacity to produce 10,000 so worked (begged?) with every provincial board to put flexibility into systems that don’t generally like flexibility. The team stretched far beyond what anyone could have expected and the customers worked with us the whole way allowing us to move all 10,000 cases within 3 minutes of release in each market. The end result was gratifying and proof that a small team could punch well above its weight given the right dream and a bit of hubr.

Describe your cannabis use in 3 words.

Nightly. Joints only

Describe the impact Cannabis has had on your life?

The plant allows me to relax and I get a far better sleep than if I was drinking whisky (but I also like whisky!) and the business inspires me as we’re all start ups in a start-up industry (the legal industry anyway) trying to figure out what it’s all going to look like.

“That Zelensky kid running the Ukraine right now…’I need ammunition, not a ride.’ Powerful.”

Where and when were you introduced to cannabis for the first time?

Probably 14 or so burning hash on butter knives at my buddies house when his mom was at work.

What’s your favourite post-smoke activity? Workout? Food?

Sleep lol.

If you could sesh with one person dead or alive, who would it be?

That Zelensky kid running the Ukraine right now…’I need ammunition, not a ride.’ Powerful.

What music do you vibe to when using Cannabis?

I’ve got a pretty good vinyl collection but right now I can’t get Khruangbin, Texas Sun off the turntable. Who doesn’t love Thai funk played by a Houston trio supported by Leon Bridges?

“I’ve tried cannabis most of the ways but I’m old school and lean into joints almost exclusively”

What are your favourite ways to consume cannabis (joints, vapes, edibles, beverages etc.) and why?

I’ve tried cannabis most of the ways but I’m old school and lean into joints almost exclusively.

Is there anything interesting that you’d like to share with the Choklit Park community? (feel free to share any important projects or exciting news you’d like our community to know!)

Choklit Park High Country Diesel (+30%) is coming your way in a couple of weeks.

Creator Spotlight: Tom Smale, CEO / Founder Growbox Consulting

On the 8th episode of the Creator Spotlight Series, we interviewed Tom Smale who is the CEO and Founder of Growbox Consulting.  He’s been extremely passionate about cannabis all his life and have been behind some of the best cannabis brands in the market today. His talent, knowledge and expertise in the cannabis space is elite level. We couldn’t be happier to feature him on this Creator Spotlight Series. Enjoy!

Introduce yourself and what do you do?

My name is Tom Smale, I am the CEO and founder of Growbox Consulting. We support cultivation and processing facilities to build culture, productivity, and procedures that allow teams to dance while staying compliant within the regulated market. We’re basically full time cheerleaders and play quarterback once in a while. 

Can you share any turning points in your career or particular moments of success?
Without a doubt…Shutting down the “legacy” grows and moving across the the country to the GTA… It was horrifying, painful, and a big change in income compared to flipping packs out of the back of the car but the legacy market was dying and I love growing cannabis. I could see that the legacy market was dying and I had to do whatever it took if I wanted to stay in the game. I walked into the building and they were like you need to learn these SOP’s. I was like, what the f**k is a soap? 
I put my head down, worked hard, asked questions, and built new muscles. 
Describe your cannabis use in 3 words.

Love, Care, Proud 

Describe the impact Cannabis has had on your life?
Epic…Growing cannabis taught me Philosophies that apply to every aspect of my life. I love consuming it but cultivating has taught me so much. 
 
1. Patience. I couldn’t force results or take short cuts with growing cannabis. I had to earn them by putting the effort in. 
 
2. Do diligence. I had to learn that doing things I didn’t want to do was actually what needed to be done if I wanted the result that I’m proud of.  
 
3. Environment. I couldn’t grow healthy thriving plants in a negative or dirty environment. Growing cannabis taught me that I personally needed to remove myself from toxic environments and place myself around people that would lift me up and support my own personal growth. 
 

“Growing cannabis taught me Philosophies that apply to every aspect of my life. I love consuming it but cultivating has taught me so much. “

Where and when were you introduced to cannabis for the first time?

I’m from BC bro lol. All jokes aside, I come from a family that was sort of split in half. My uncles had been growing cannabis since I was born but my parents sent me to rehab in grade 12 for smoking too much of it.  I’ve been around cannabis ever since I can remember and it’s been a cultural part of my life. For readers, my parents have come a long way. They get it now.  I’m grateful they support me and what Growbox is all about. 

What’s your favourite post-smoke activity? Workout? Food?

Pizza without a doubt. We smoke a ton of meat around the house but that takes hours so a pizza is usually eaten while we’re waiting for the brisket or ribs.

If you could sesh with one person dead or alive, who would it be?

My mentor GT – RIP.

What music do you vibe to when using Cannabis?
My playlist bounces [around.] I’ll go through hip hop, country, and classic rock all within 30 mins. It Drives my friends crazy and they don’t let me go DJ very often. Whatever the mood is. I love music. 

“Choklit park is about bringing that legacy fire to market while honoring and telling the story of the growers. We aligned very quickly and Growbox supports this concept.”

What are your favourite ways to consume cannabis (joints, vapes, edibles, beverages etc.) and why?

I used to hit bongs but I’d just fall asleep. It’s mostly joints nowadays but for some reason I still fall asleep. 

Is there anything interesting that you’d like to share with the Choklit Park community? (feel free to share any important projects or exciting news you’d like our community to know!)
Choklit park is about bringing that legacy fire to market while honoring and telling the story of the growers. We aligned very quickly and Growbox supports this concept. I’m telling you…. if I figured out how to dance within this legal industry, anyone can. 
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