Tokyo Smoke is high-end smoke shop which is now operating out of former shipping dock in Toronto’s west end. Shop owner Alan Gertner, a man who quit his career at Google in order to launch this brand, is trying to fill the void for luxury cannabis products with this retail location.
According to Gertner, “I don’t think there is a home for someone who’s buying Mast Brothers chocolate and drinking the nicest coffee to have a similar experience in pot. It’s no different from someone who has beautiful stemware in their home for alcohol. We ritualize and love our experiences, and I think we should have the same thing with cannabis.”
This shop is one example of how entrepreneurs in the industry are attempting to re-brand the image that most people have in their mind when they think of cannabis. Phillippe Lucas is vice-president of Nainamo grower Tilray, and he says he is trying to battle the effects of many decades of propaganda against cannabis. “I think the stigma is completely understandable when we look at the 70 years of misinformation, propaganda and drug war rhetoric that’s come out of Canada and the U.S.,” Lucas says.
Regulations from Health Canada also limit these businesses from making any health claims with their advertising.
As of now, Tokyo Smoke isn’t selling any cannabis, only paraphernalia and accessories so far. They do have plans of launching four strains of cannabis in the U.S. We can expect to see more shops like Tokyo Smoke popping up as cannabis gradually becomes part of the mainstream and legalization slowly spreads across North America.