Rolling through the Tokyo Smoke flagship

Last night we invited Toronto’s tastemakers to a preview of our brand new location at 668 Queen Street West.

The space features a coffee bar, cafe seating, site-specific art by Kathryn MacNaughton and Dahae Song, and a unique selection of smoking accessories and lifestyle brands including The Pursuit of Happiness, Fellow and Brennan Michael.

To celebrate the launch, Boneset Creative’s team crafted embroidery on caps, and a custom cocktail (using Tokyo Smoke’s Relief tea blend) was created by The Minister Group.

The shop officially opens tomorrow – stop by and say high.

All photos: David Pike

What’s in store: Kathryn MacNaughton x Tokyo Smoke

Find yourself highly inspired at the new flagship, opening July 20. The shop at 668 Queen Street West is home to a site-specific piece by Toronto-based artist Kathryn MacNaughton. Here, MacNaughton talks about her work and how this collaboration came to be.

When did you first develop an interest in art?

At a very young age. My parents would take me to art classes down at Harbourfront Centre and I loved it. I think they recognized my interest and encouraged me to continue. Being creative and making stuff has always been a part of my life.

Describe a typical day in your studio?

I get to the studio at 8am. Make coffee. Write a list of things to do, write some emails. I get into my paint clothes and start painting. I try to go to yoga at some point – it helps break up the day – and I try to leave the studio around 7, depending on the day. Some days I’m there really late.

How did the collaboration with Tokyo Smoke come about?

Berkeley Poole [creative director at Tokyo Smoke] and I have worked together on a few projects before. I think she was interested in using my work because it has a lot of layers and it’s abstract. You can really dive deep into my paintings. I think it’s a great fit for this kind of environment.

Describe the work that will be at the new shop?

I’m working directly on the wall. It will be a mural with textures similar to my abstract paintings. It suggests the female form, but it’s all up for interpretation. I’m curious to know what your customers will see.

What’s your favourite thing about West Queen West?

It’s a great place to discover new stores, grab a bite to eat and then when you need a little chill time, the park is right there.

Portrait by: Renée Rodenkirchen

High Gear with Chippy

High Gear: we’re examining your stash, chatting about your gear. DJ, rapper, writer and actor Chippy Nonstop made the move from LA and now lives in Toronto. In today’s edition, she talks us through her habits and props.

Can you tell us a bit about your gear? What are your essential pipes / pieces / paraphernalia?

Honestly I’m basic with it. Papers and blunt wraps. 

What’s your go-to accessory? Or a favourite brand? Something that kicked your sessions into high gear.

Raw papers and a grinder. I used to smoke a lot of blunts in California when I was there, but not as much in Toronto.

Do you have any rituals around rolling? A favourite session spot?

I like smoking in my living room mostly or in a car with a friend on a road trip. I don’t really have any rituals tbh. 

All photos: Jacqueline Ashton

Cannabis Diaries: An Event Planner Chilling Out


At Tokyo Smoke we’re anonymously chatting to our friends, café dwellers and the extended creative community about their smoking habits over the course of the week. From strains to supplies, anecdotes and advice, the outcome is always interesting.

This week we’re shadowing a 29-year-old event planner whose job is the party and has turned from booze to bud to relax.

Friday – My weekend tends to begin on a Monday. Today I started setting up tomorrow’s 300 person wedding at a big downtown venue. Table settings, menus, confirming details with the venue & chefs. All seems to be in order so after everything is done, I head home, work out and finish a joint that my friend left behind from a hang earlier this week. It’s an indica, I go to sleep early.

Saturday morning – There’s Sour Diesel (a sativa) in my vape. I have just a few puffs, it’s going to be a big day.

Sunday evening – Apart from a very concerned Mother of the Bride, everything went well yesterday. I smoke more of the vape (it’s a Pax by the way) and take a long bath. Tomorrow is officially my day off but I’ll probably spend it going round various charity shops and gathering different plates and stemware. My clients love colourful and mismatched place settings. They’ll come in handy for a pitch I’m doing later this week.

Tuesday afternoon –  It’s a sunny afternoon. A friend and I grab coffees and wander, stopping at a dispensary. She buys two different Indicas, Pink Kush and Rockstar. I buy a high CBD Sativa called Rene. We head to the park with her portable Bose speaker, subtly pack my PAX and chill out for an hour. I used to drink a bottle of wine or have beers to unwind but I prefer cannabis these days. There’s always a drink being passed around at work.

Thursday night –
After work (a corporate event that I designed the room/table for) I get home early enough to make pasta, grilling veg from a farmer’s market and making the sauce. I smoke the Rene. I find that with high CBD saliva’s my body feels totally relaxed but I still feel sharp. It’s a perfect work-night high.

4/20 Celebration: Free Coffee & Papers

Free coffee & papers, Thursday, April 20, at Tokyo Smoke Found (850b Adelaide St. W.) and Tokyo Smoke Green (874 College St.), from open to close.

To celebrate 4/20, we’re giving away free coffee and It’s Lit rolling papers (which include filters and a special magnetic closure) on Thursday, April 20th! The relationship between great coffee and cannabis is a duo near to our hearts so for one day only, the java is on us.  Stop by either storefront location in Toronto to claim your free cup of coffee and take home a specially designed pack of Tokyo Smoke papers.

 

Cannabis Diaries: The Office Assistant Improving a Winter Week

Monday:

I wake up on Monday, tired and a little groggy, but ready for another week of work. I work out of a co-working space in an up-and-coming neighbourhood. I get ready for the day and ask my boyfriend (who is the world’s best pinner-roller) to roll me a little joint filled with this wonderful Sativa, called Grapefruit, for my after-work activities. The day lags but when it hits 6:30 I regain a new wave of energy. I head to my friends place, who lives just around the corner, for an evening filled with crafts, wine, and that precious pinner that’s been in safe-keeping all day.

Wednesday:

After a fairly hectic day filled with meeting-madness, I take a nice jaunt across the city for some air and headspace. The days are getting longer and it inspires a quality of rejuvenation. My friend has been writing a memoir and a group of us are her first listeners. We settle around her living room, sprawled across the L-shaped couch, covered in fuzzy blankets and soft cushions. We pass around a little glass pipe filled with Blueberry Kush and let ourselves get engulfed in her story of love and loss, her words echo smoothly around the room, mimicking the lingering smoke in the air.

Friday:

Being in a long-term relationship, my boyfriend and I try to have a chill night once a week to catch up on what’s been going on and touch base. I prance home, excited for our evening. He meets me at the door and we head to the LCBO together. After we pick out an eclectic assortment of craft beers, we drop them off and take a walk. We head towards Trinity Bellwoods and pull out the joint he’s pre-rolled. This time it’s Sour Diesel. Passing it back and forth, I let the high wash over me and let the stress from the week roll off. We are a bit chilly, so we head home and light a fire. It will be one of the last of the season.

Saturday:

Bridesmaids dress shopping—how do you make that more fun? I can think of a couple ways, but one in particular (read: some edible magic filled with CBD). Enough said.

High Expectations – Part 3

I found that cannabis has helped with my mood and my anxiety as well. I somewhat have found a way to be creative again; the first time I painted in over 10 years was because marijuana helped me push boundaries I have created for myself. And I think that finding that creativity in me is also part of my recovery.  Of doing things that I love and in accepting who I really am. Sometimes my anxiety is so bad that I can’t watch a movie or even bring myself to pay my bills. On most days, just the thought of being late to an appointment or the thought of a deadline scares me. My anxiety is not something that I’m used to explaining in words to a reader, so please bear with me. I just want to explain how it can manifest in some people and that it’s important to care to know that everybody is different. It’s an issue that needs to be talked about. With cannabis, I’m able to write again. I’ve noticed that sometimes the words don’t come if I’m too anxious; the creativity won’t sprout. I’m not saying that I have to be high in order to be creative, but I’m saying it definitely helps to get me going, especially when I’m going through tough times. It’s like it’s clouded in my head with all the anxiety, almost like I can’t see clearly, but marijuana helps me see clearly.

 

Sometimes, it is the only thing that will put a smile on my face on a grey day. It can make some of my pain go away. People who are sick will definitely understand what it’s like to have a small glimpse of a break, some hope and some relief, even if it is for 1 minute, 2 hours or even 5 hours. It almost feels like for a mere moment, I’m not sick; and that definitely helps me visualize and leaves my mood uplifted. It’s quite a strange feeling indeed, but it makes me feel like everyone else and above all, makes me feel alive again. No other medication has ever been able to give me a somewhat normal life like medicinal cannabis.

Photo by Sean Berrigan

I really think people should smoke more weed because the world would be at peace. We would all love one another and respect one another. Cannabis also makes you happy and I have recurrent MDD, so it’s likely to occur again at some point in my life. There are various strains of cannabis that uplift your mood and a lot of uneducated people think that there’s only one type of cannabis (there are thousands and each has different and several medicinal properties), and that it is just  about the couch-potato lazy high.

It’s unimaginable how many people could benefit from medicinal marijuana. Women on their periods for example! A completely natural way to get rid of PMS and cramps, but the market isn’t accessible enough for this audience just yet. The market is definitely geared towards the male population, or maybe it simply hasn’t adapted, much like in other fields. I wouldn’t say that it is sexist per se, but it definitely isn’t attractive to me as a woman. And I was never a feminist, nor did I really know what it meant until I moved to Toronto, but by gaining a conscience and my own ideas, I’ve been able to notice an actual difference as a woman within the cannabis industry and I have become a feminist, so advocating for this cause seemed evident.

   

Photo by Sean Berrigan

Somehow, i feel isolated about cannabis and that’s the the best word I found to describe the emotions I feel. I always ask my boyfriend what he thinks of the strains and base my choices on his most of the time because he’s very knowledgable about cannabis and because a lot of the strains have such weird names! I think I feel insecure in a world where the male presence greatly surpasses the female’s. Maybe it’s because I don’t feel attracted to what’s out there right now? I see all these paraphernalia stores and they are plagued with lots of stuff that I can’t even describe. I think it’s going against what almost every women looks for in a store. I mean…I won’t go into a store if it doesn’t look attractive, but again maybe that’s just me… And I really believe there is a way to make it attractive and to definitely adapt so that many more women would feel open to trying it because it’s VERY intimidating at first.

I think Tokyo Smoke has done a great job and great things to try and change that. By selling high-end products, by creating a brand and through collaborations, it is slowly tapping into a blank canvas. What’s great is that I can relate: I can actually go into their space and be wowed by pipes that were hand-crafted in Canada and that are appealing. The beauty of it is also the accessibility of going to a coffee shop and being able to purchase paraphernalia without shame!!! As I had mentioned before, finding stores where I feel comfortable buying is important to me, and what best way than to shop while drinking the best Americano it town! When I first approached Tokyo Smoke to tell my story, it was because I believed in their profess and in the fact that they were ahead of the game. Their products were sleek and feminine, which was something I hadn’t seen before and their clean displays made it easy for me to know what to look for. I would love for the industry to keep moving in this direction and I would love to support women who have learned to integrate marijuana into their daily lives as a way to self-medicate. There needs to be support groups and help groups about how to navigate the system when you need to use medicinal marijuana and I really hope I am part of the movement.

   

Photo by Sean Berrigan

If you would like to share your story with me, email me at vmerc074@gmail.com nd let’s  talk about it! I would love to get to know you and to end the stigma, one woman at a time! On top of that, you get some sweet photos of you medicating in your own way!

 

Cheers!

 

Vee

 

I just wanted to dedicate this to my amazing boyfriend who helped me discover medicinal marijuana and who is always there for me, no matter what. Thanks to my family for helping my stay strong, to Tokyo Smoke for allowing me to share my story on their platforms and to my best friend Katlyn, who has inspired me to write in order to heal.

High Expectations – Part 2

It took a lot of convincing before I really tried cannabis. My boyfriend had been using it to treat his psoriatic arthritis for years and I still remember my first joint here in Toronto. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t stand or move to the point where I also couldn’t even undress myself… You can try picturing my boyfriend painfully trying to take my VERY skinny jeans off my really long legs (I’m 6 feet tall)!!! That’s when he said he would “roll me something” and I remember taking a few puffs of his precisely-rolled joint and I could move again. I couldn’t believe it. I even remember dancing in the living room out of joy. It was like my brain knew that I was in pain, but my body couldn’t feel it. The metaphor I use to explain it is that I know and I can see that I have pain, but that it’s in the corner of the room.

Image: Sean Berrigan

 

I was able to obtain my medicinal marijuana license (formely MMPR) last year and I’ve been getting my cannabis through a licensed producer here in Canada ever since. The process is fairly easy if you have a doctor that can advocate for you and believes in the medicinal aspects of the plant, but also if you advocate for yourself. I’ve learned over the years that you have to do your own research and that finding a doctor with whom you can have a relationship is key. When I asked my family physician about medical cannabis, she never treated it like a drug, but rather a medication that could help alleviate my symptoms. I believe that every patient has the right to have access to medical marijuana as a treatment and I think that this information needs to be communicated by healthcare professionals. It’s really sad to know that there are still ingrained negative connotations surrounding marijuana and that because a lot of doctors still do not believe in its’ medical properties. It’s an old-school way of thought and patients are unnececssaryily suffering because of it. As a doctor, if there was something out there that could alleviate your patient’s pain; wouldn’t you want to try? I mean, why aren’t we spending money on research when it is clear that marijuana’s medicinal properties do exist? And why are our tax-payers’ dollars going towards busting dispensaries even amidst talks of possible legalization in Canada? These are just some of the questions I ask myself on a daily basis because it really has made an impact on me. I’m trying to be conscious and watch documentaries and inform myself as much as I can, but it’s mind-boggling to me why we’re not doing something about it and quicker!  

There is no other medication that can alleviate my pain as fast as cannabis can. And I’m on so much medication right now I loose track sometimes. I can take up to 20 different pills a day and that might not sound like a lot, but it is to me. It’s been quite a roller-coaster with trying to determine what works for me and what doesn’t and sometimes I have to take more medication to counter-effect the side effect of another (it’s pretty crazy)! I used medicinal marijuana on a daily basis and for different ailments. I’ve actually found a strain that gets rids of my nerve pain completely and that can help with my mood. No other medication has ever done that for me. I can pump 900mg of Gabapentin (nerve pain medication) 3 times a day and that still doesn’t help me… I smoke half a joint and it’s like an aura going through my veins; plus it’s more of a body high and I can still function. Although my back pain remains, my nerve pain almost disappears and my legs are left bathing in a sweet buzzing sensation. It’s just the moment that counts. The moment when, for one minute, you realize that you haven’t felt nerve pain in a minute (haha). I know that everybody is different and that’s why there are so many strains that have yet to be discovered, but if people only knew! If they only knew how cannabis helps me and I wish it could help them too.

Because I need to use a cane and because my own body is trying to protect me from pain, the muscles in my back aren’t necessarily doing what they should be doing and so, other muscles are affected. That means, my shoulders, hips, knees, heels and wrists also hurt. I have seen A LOT of doctors and specialists and so I have countless appointments every week. I am followed by a chiropractor, an osteopath, a physiotherapist, pain specialists and many more. I have to do daily exercises, but tasks at home are very difficult. I have a lot of difficulty with cleaning, cooking or walking my dog. I am rarely hungry and marijuana has also helped me regain an appetite. I also used to cook a lot, but my anxiety even prevents me from doing so sometimes, or my back will be in too much pain for me to stand for too long. It’s very hard for me to loose that because just the thought of all those steps gives me anxiety. I’m trying to adjust to a new way of life and it isn’t always easy. I need a lot of help, and I need to learn how to live with a disability, on top of trying to accept it. I’m trying to adjust to a new way of life and it isn’t always easy. I need a lot of help, and I need to learn how to live with a disability, on top of trying to accept it.  I’m trying to adjust to a new way of life and it isn’t always easy.

Before I made the transition to needing an accessible parking permit or accessible bathrooms, I never really paid attention to the challenges people with disabilities face daily and I now feel terrible because I actually need a handle bar to get on/off the toilet. I have faced challenges as a disabled person and I have even noticed a difference in the way people look at you and treat you. A lot of them are really nice and understanding, but sometimes, it’s the complete opposite. When that happens, I am able to say something or to tell them off because I have the strength whereas so many others might not find the voice. Speaking out for me is extremely important because I believe every human should be treated equally. There have been instances where I have been made fun of or even disrespected because of both my physical and mental illnesses, and that means that there are times when I’m hurting A LOT more, because that cuts way deeper. It also doesn’t help that airlines and some insurance companies still today disregard mental illnesses, especially in 2016.

More on the how marijuana help my mental illness next time. In the meantime, If you would like to share your story like me, email me at vmerc074@gmail.com  or via Instagram @fallforvee and let’s talk about it! I would love to get to know you and to end the stigma, one woman at a time! On top of that, you get some sweet photos of you medicating in your own way!

 

Cheers!

 

Vee

 

P.S. I just wanted to dedicate this to my amazing boyfriend who helped me discover medicinal marijuana and who is always there for me, no matter what. Thanks to my family for helping me stay strong, to Tokyo Smoke for allowing me to share my story on their platforms and to my best friend Katlyn, who has inspired me to write in order to heal.

   

Image: Sean Berrigan

Because I need to use a cane and because my own body is trying to protect me from pain, the muscles in my back aren’t necessarily doing what they should be doing and so, other muscles are affected. That means, my shoulders, hips, knees, heels and wrists also hurt. I have seen A LOT of doctors and specialists and so I have countless appointments every week. I am followed by a chiropractor, an osteopath, a physiotherapist, pain specialists and many more. I have to do daily exercises, but tasks at home are very difficult. I have a lot of difficulty with cleaning, cooking or walking my dog. I am rarely hungry and marijuana has also helped me regain an appetite. I also used to cook a lot, but my anxiety even prevents me from doing so sometimes, or my back will be in too much pain for me to stand for too long. It’s very hard for me to loose that because just the thought of all those steps gives me anxiety. I’m trying to adjust to a new way of life and it isn’t always easy. I need a lot of help, and I need to learn how to live with a disability, on top of trying to accept it. I’m trying to adjust to a new way of life and it isn’t always easy. I need a lot of help, and I need to learn how to live with a disability, on top of trying to accept it.  I’m trying to adjust to a new way of life and it isn’t always easy.

Before I made the transition to needing an accessible parking permit or accessible bathrooms, I never really paid attention to the challenges people with disabilities face daily and I now feel terrible because I actually need a handle bar to get on/off the toilet. I have faced challenges as a disabled person and I have even noticed a difference in the way people look at you and treat you. A lot of them are really nice and understanding, but sometimes, it’s the complete opposite. When that happens, I am able to say something or to tell them off because I have the strength whereas so many others might not find the voice. Speaking out for me is extremely important because I believe every human should be treated equally. There have been instances where I have been made fun of or even disrespected because of both my physical and mental illnesses, and that means that there are times when I’m hurting A LOT more, because that cuts way deeper. It also doesn’t help that airlines and some insurance companies still today disregard mental illnesses, especially in 2016.

Image: Sean Berrigan

More on the how marijuana help my mental illness next time. In the meantime, If you would like to share your story like me, email me at vmerc074@gmail.com  or via Instagram @fallforvee and let’s talk about it! I would love to get to know you and to end the stigma, one woman at a time! On top of that, you get some sweet photos of you medicating in your own way!

Cheers!

Vee

P.S. I just wanted to dedicate this to my amazing boyfriend who helped me discover medicinal marijuana and who is always there for me, no matter what. Thanks to my family for helping me stay strong, to Tokyo Smoke for allowing me to share my story on their platforms and to my best friend Katlyn, who has inspired me to write in order to heal.

In Response to the Task Force Report on Cannabis Legalization

Photo: Cais Mukhayesh

This week the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation released a report and provided some clarity on the potential Canadian government roll-out plan. As a cannabis lifestyle brand, Tokyo Smoke wanted to discuss what this means for the variety of cannabis consumers and share some of our initial thoughts.

While the findings are suggestions and not mandates, we would imagine the Federal Government would give significant consideration to these proposals when formulating their ultimate legalization strategy.

Overall we are excited and more convinced than ever that cannabis is going to be to Canada what wine is to France. The Task Force outlined the potential for retail storefronts, a recreational mail-order system, edibles, cannabis lounges, and a minimum age for consumption of eighteen. This is a more inclusive roll-out plan than was seen in many of the legal US states and will allow for a vibrant market with both product, consumption and retail choices.

The Task Force reinforced that provinces will have quite a bit of latitude in deciding wholesale and point-of-sale in the recreational market. This is an interesting point as in-province distribution could end up looking quite different across the country. With the additional point that retail outlets shouldn’t mix marijuana and alcohol, many who thought that, by default, the liquor boards would gain control of marijuana distribution/retail may have to re-think how the retail environment will look. It will be interesting to see what other restrictions are put on potential retailers whether it be the required distance from public places (parks, schools, etc.) or the dual entry/ID system as is seen in many legal states in the US..

When it comes to marketing, the comparison to the tobacco industry is a bit of a let-down. While restrictions on advertising do make sense, especially when it comes to keeping the product out of the hands of youth, using the alcohol industry’s regulations as a guide would be preferable. There is still plenty of room for brands to be both creative and engaging while educating consumers about the product.

In terms of production, the report suggests Licensed Producers as the de facto suppliers – companies that will “Regulate the production of cannabis and its derivatives (e.g., edibles, concentrates) at the federal level, drawing on the good production practices of the current cannabis for medical purposes system.” This is no big surprise but valued confirmation. Anne McLellan did talk about “diversity of supply” but said new entrants will still have to conform to strict production & quality standards (i.e. – go through the Health Canada gauntlet like every Licensed Producer and applicant). This will ensure a safe, regulated product for the market. While it may be difficult, initially, to have a system of ‘craft grow’ and ’large-scale grow’, some provinces may try to implement this themselves (namely BC). This will help provide the market with the desired diversity in product choice that we see in other categories ranging from food and beverage to skincare to alcohol.

Overall, this is another big step toward legalization. Canada is on its way to furthering our position as a global leader in the Cannabis space. While we can nitpick about little things here and there in the Task Force report, the fact is, we continue to make positive steps towards an open, legal market. This report is yet another reminder that Canada is taking a thoughtful, progressive approach to legalization and Tokyo Smoke is thrilled to be involved in this journey.