Lisa Van De Geyn photo leaning on building with really cool glasses

I’ll just come out and say it. It’s probably a bit embarrassing, considering I’m not a twenty- or even thirtysomething anymore, but I really don’t know anything about cannabis. (There. I admitted it.) 
It was never something I got into; it wasn’t an area of interest. Sure, I’ve had friends who’ve been known to smoke the occasional joint or eat the occasional gummy, but it’s never piqued my curiosity. That is, until, The Spark team decided to dedicate an entire issue of our magazine to the miracle plant.

When we were conceptualizing this issue, it was tough to know where to start — there’s just so much to research to read and cover when it comes to cannabis. We knew we couldn’t do it all, but we also knew we wanted a well-rounded issue that would touch on education, culture, opportunities in the field, and, of course, the medical side of the story. The development of our editorial lineup was born out of group work on our Tuesday morning Zoom meetings. And when Frank Auddino, our circulation whiz, and advertising salesperson extraordinaire, introduced us to Wayne Cockburn (the president of Pathway Health and our consultant on this issue), we knew we were onto something exciting. The stories in our Up Front section are diverse but have one common tie — they explain the good cannabis has done for the economy, patients, students, and innovators. That brings me to the second half of the magazine. Last issue, we dedicated our pages to celebrating 24 Ontario-based companies that pivoted during COVID. (If you haven’t seen this issue, please go to at your earliest convenience. It’s a read that will leave you feeling invigorated and proud to be an Ontarian.) This time around, we decided to applaud 12 brilliant companies and founders who are doing incredible things in the world of cannabis. Some specialize in cannabis when it comes to chronic-pain management (Pathway Health, page 52) while others are into the development of cannabinoid beauty products (CBD2.0, page 54). There are super-cool cannabis accessories (BRNT, page 65), medical cannabis producers (Tilray, page 56), and even a piece on how cannabis can benefit your four-legged family members. (Grey Wolf Animal Health, page 60).

For someone who didn’t really know anything about cannabis, I learned so much working on these pages. I understand the difference between indica and sativa, for example (“Everything You Wanted to Know About Cannabis But Were Afraid to Ask, page 18), I see the value in cannabis for patients (“Doctor’s Orders,” page 24) and I even learned that universities and colleges across the province are developing courses to help students shine in the cannabis sector (“Higher Education,” page 40). I might not be ready to smoke, vape, or pop a gummy, but at least I feel more educated on the merits of this plant. I hope you will too after reading this issue.

See you next time,

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