In the three years since federal legalization, some of Canada’s most popular and hyped brands are American, such as Colorado-based Wana Brands and California’s Cookies, reports Leafly.
Licensed to licence
London, Ontario-based licensed producer Indiva is the Canadian license holder for Wana Brands, which holds around 38 per cent of the edibles market according to HiFyre. And their licensing deal with California’s award-winning infused chocolatiers Bhang has been similarly successful — it’s the top-selling chocolate brand in the country.
Riding the hype
While marketing is limited in Canada, the hype has clearly made its way to Ontario, where Cookies sold out of its first drop of the Gary Payton and Georgia Pie strains in two days.
Without the ability to export, the challenge was finding the right Canadian partners to produce the same quality found in their distinctive blue bags in California. With the help of Gage, who Cookies had already worked with in Michigan, Noya Cannabis grew the cannabis in their Hamilton, Ontario facility. Now, Cookies plans to launch more strains , expand sales to other provinces and open a flagship store in Toronto.
While licensing successful US brands is a winning strategy for some Canadian companies, intellectual property could change hands in the flurry of mergers and acquisitions on the horizon. Wana Brands, for example, is set to be acquired from Canopy Growth if and when US federal legalization happens. Indiva CEO Niel Marotta said they’ve signed on with Wana for another 3.5 years and sees it as a positive.
“It’s not 100% clear how everything’s going to go,” Marotta told Leafly. “But we’re enthusiastic about this. We think it’s a great testament to the brand, seeing Canopy buy Wana and maybe a testament to the licensing model, too.”