The pot whisperers

The pot whisperers

The favourite strains of the horticulturally gifted growers at the city’s top cannabis companies, plus other tricks of the trade

Katie Iarocci

Horticulture Manager, Up Cannabis
Iarocci, who studied plant biology in university, met the founders of Up in 2015. Each day at the greenhouse, she does a “bed check” to make sure nothing went haywire overnight with the irrigation system, as well as a glance at the crop’s pH and light levels, CO2, humidity and moisture content. She also touches base with her team of assistant growers, analyzes lab results and helps out with Up’s apothecary line of shampoos, bath salts and candles. At home, Iarocci grows hops, stinging nettle, and soothing shoots like rosemary and calendula for her apothecary side hustle.

Favourite strain: “Moon,” a 2:1 CBD to THC blend that offers pain relief with no anxious side effects.



Brady Green

Director of cultivation, CannTrust
The aptly named Green, the self-described organic gardening obsessive, earned an honours degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from Trent University, and has been growing just about everything he can for most of his adult life. When he’s not testing new strains in CannTrust’s Niagara facility, he’s travelling the country to meet with potential partners and scope out new tech that might give his cannababies a boost.

Favourite strain: Blueberry Kush, with flavours of grape, berry and blueberry muffin. It won Top Hybrid Flower at the 2018 Canadian Cannabis Awards.



Jeanette VanderMarel

Head grower and co-CEO, 48North
VanderMarel, a former lavender farmer, applied for a growing licence in 2009. Last year, her cannabis company, Good & Green, merged with the medical-grade marijuana operation 48 North, where she now works as co-CEO. When VanderMarel isn’t bouncing around the province, tending to her two (soon to be three) facilities, she’s at the greenhouse, harvesting, trimming, reading lab reports, checking runoff and dead-heading “anything that’s yellow.”

Favourite strain: Girl Scout Cookie. “It’s relaxing and uplifting at the same time.”

Photo by Daniel Neuhaus



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