Five hot new Toronto canna-companies
The green thumbs
1In 2014, University of Waterloo engineering students Bjorn Dawson and Chris Thiele invented the Grobo, a simple device that could grow fruits and vegetables on a kitchen countertop. When they heard that the Liberals were planning to legalize pot, they switched gears. The Grobo’s inventors describe it as a Keurig for cannabis: it comes with its own light and nutrients, so growers just add seeds and water, then watch their babies grow like, well, weed.
2John Lem, CEO of Lobo Genetics, has fused two of society’s current obsessions: cannabis and 23andMe–style DNA testing. Across Canada, in pharmacies and doctor’s offices, customers can swab their cheeks and, within the hour, receive an email explaining how their bodies metabolize THC and CBD—and whether they’re predisposed to bad trips, short- or long-term memory loss or developing schizophrenia. The company plans to go public on the TSX this year, and former provincial finance minister Charles Sousa sits on its board.
The Snoop protégé
3You know you’re onto something in the cannabis world when the most famous stoner on Earth backs your company. Snoop Dogg, who once claimed to smoke 81 blunts a day, has poured $2 million into Trellis, a software start-up founded by Toronto’s Pranav Sood. The program allows growers to manage their inventories, generating reports on sales revenue, costs per gram and plant mortality.
The vape artists
4Dustin and Corey Koffler, the minds behind Green Tank Technologies, come by the drug trade honestly: their grandfather, Murray Koffler, founded Shoppers Drug Mart back in 1962. The brothers bill their product as the world’s best vape pen, designed for high-quality, high-viscosity cannabis oils. Lorne and Alan Gertner, the father-son duo that created Tokyo Smoke, are investors, as is the ever-generous Snoop Dogg.
The tech guru
5John Prentice saw the potential in cannabis as early as 2014, when he founded Ample Organics, which he describes as “the plumbers of the cannabis industry.” His software suite is used by 75 per cent of Canadian licensed growers, allowing them to recall plant harvests, develop e-commerce and manage inventory. Their latest investor? None other than David Thomson, third Baron of Fleet.
The New Gold Rush
Part 1: Pot-Luck Dinner
The city is teeming with fancy, secret summer clubs serving THC-laced cuisine. We sent our restaurant critic to sample the goods
Part 2: The Pot Pilgrims
These five newcomers packed up their lives and moved to Toronto—all for the chance to work in weed
Part 3: Hot Boxes
Luxurious designer boutiques are the future of cannabis retail
Part 4: Professors of Pot
It’s a stoner’s dream come true: you can finally major in marijuana
Part 5: Plant Managers
The favourite strains of the horticulturally gifted growers at the city’s top cannabis companies
Part 6: Baked Goods
Wellness gurus are spiking their artisanal lotions and salves with a not-so-secret ingredient. We tested out some of the more intriguing products
Part 7: Buzz Food
Cannabis cooking classes—for those who want to cause and cure the munchies in one fell swoop
Part 8: High Rollers
We quizzed the city’s most powerful cannabis CEOs on their favourite strains, weed slang and what they eat when they get the munchies
Part 9: Joint Ventures
Five of Toronto’s hottest burgeoning canna-companies
Part 10: Who You Gonna Call?
The accountants, lawyers and ad agencies carving out a niche in the buzz biz