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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - When a drug has been illegal for so long, people are bound to have questions.
For Dina Qahwaji, answering those questions is a priority.
Qahwaji is an associate brand manager for Aphria, one of 12 licensed producers supplying P.E.I.’s government-run cannabis retail stores.
“The goal really for us is to demystify cannabis and make that shopping experience easy,” Qahwaji said.
The company’s cannabis brand, Solei, produces six strains, each designed for a particular occasion or time of day.
P.E.I. Cannabis employees took a tour of the Solei Discovery Centre, an interactive pop-up unit, in Charlottetown just before legalization day in October. The display offers information about each of the strains and aims to provide a better understanding of cannabis.
The strains are Renew, a high-THC Indica recommended for night use; Unplug, a milder Indica intended for unwinding; Free, which is high in CBD, the medical component of cannabis; Balance, with nearly equal parts THC and CBD; Gather, a sativa-dominant hybrid; and Sense, a sativa meant for “intimate occasions.”
Each strain was developed with the idea of complementing an experience, Qahwaji said.
“Identifying all these different key points in our consumers’ day, it’s really about the occasions and how cannabis can be part of that.”
Solei’s cannabis is sun-grown and environmentally friendly, Qahwaji said.
“Through our greenhouses, we use one-twelfth of the power of a traditional growing operation … we definitely look to save as much of that as we can and be responsible and eco-friendly.”
The company also recycles rain water and returns its compost to reduce its carbon footprint.
On the Island, meanwhile, it’s been a busy couple of months for FIGR, the recreational brand run by Canada’s Island Garden.
President and CEO Edwin Jewell said staff have gone above and beyond in growing supply for P.E.I.’s stores.
He doesn’t anticipate any issues with supply, but packaging slows the process.
“We had some challenges with getting all the packaging and everything we need to fulfill the order. The challenges we’ve had, in many cases, are beyond our control,” he said.
“Nonetheless, we deal with those the best we can, and overall in terms of people being able to get out to the stores, we’re very happy.”
FIGR currently supplies P.E.I. and Nova Scotia and hopes to expand further.
“With the future direction our company’s going to grow, we’re very excited about the opportunity in the industry and to be the only LP in P.E.I.”
Meanwhile, the P.E.I. Cannabis store in O’Leary might not open until January, said operations manager Zach Currie.
“We continue to work diligently with our partners from the Town of O’Leary and our contractors. It’s going to be a real team effort to push to have the store operational before the new year.”