New Brunswick

Martha Stewart offers business advice to cannabis industry leaders

Food and lifestyles guru Martha Stewart says the recipe for success she has followed throughout her career also applies to cannabis companies — offer quality products at fair prices.

Lifestyle guru spoke to 650 cannabis industry leaders Tuesday at the World Cannabis Congress in Saint John

Martha Stewart says the recipe for success she has followed throughout her career also applies to cannabis companies — offer quality products at fair prices. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Food and lifestyles guru Martha Stewart says the recipe for success she has followed throughout her career also applies to cannabis companies — offer quality products at fair prices.

"My approach has always been make the best product at the best price and distribute it as widely as possible. That's why when I started my business … I started at Kmart, that old, wonderful store," Stewart told about 650 cannabis industry leaders Tuesday at the World Cannabis Congress in Saint John.

"I think it's always about the best for the fairest price. There is a fair price for everything."

In February, Stewart joined Ontario-based Canopy Growth Corp. in an advisory role to help develop a new line of products.

The company said it would use Stewart's knowledge of consumer products while exploring the effectiveness of hemp-derived CBD and other cannabinoids as they relate to both humans and pets.

"What we're trying to do together is, in the U.S. and in Canada and other markets, we're going to the basics of getting hemp-derived CBD," said Canopy chair Bruce Linton, who appeared onstage with Stewart.

Martha Stewart gives business advice, tips to fight weed stigma at World Cannabis Congress

3 years ago
Duration 1:20
Martha Stewart was part of the World Cannabis Congress in Saint John.

"And then we're looking at how do we put this in product that will assist dogs first in either having diminished anxiety or better mobility."

Stewart was quick to say that cats shouldn't be ignored.

"I have cats that could really use some."

Stewart's next cannabis focus is food

Stewart said she never smoked cannabis growing up but has been trying some of the new products, such as skin creams. She wants the next focus to be food.

"Martha Stewart Living has 35,000 recipes. Those can be adapted with the use of cannabis or CBD," she said.

Stewart said she was introduced to Canopy Growth by Snoop Dogg, a noted cannabis aficionado.

Stewart reacts to a conversation with Derek Riedle, publisher of Civilized, a media platform related to the enjoyment of cannabis. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Her ties to the rapper go back to at least 2015, when she baked brownies on The Martha Stewart Show with him and hinted that he could add some weed to the recipe.

The crowd in Saint John roared with laughter when Stewart said Snoop Dogg is always high.

Linton wouldn't say when the company will have the new Stewart-inspired products ready but when pressed said the date is still a few months away.

Stewart took a number of questions from the crowd, including from one from a man who asked what needs to be done in the United States to deal with the number of people in prison for minor drug infractions.

"America has more people incarcerated than pretty much any other free country that we know of," she said.

"It is a sorry state and I do have first-hand experience," she said, referring to her own 2004 conviction on felony charges of making false statements to federal investigators.

She was sentenced to serve a five-month term in a federal correctional facility.

Edibles and oils coming soon

The three-day World Cannabis Congress was organized by Civilized, an online magazine on cannabis culture. Its publisher, Derek Riedle, said a lot has happened since the first congress last June, when the industry was preparing for legalization in Canada.

"Now we're charting a path forward, because this year there will be all kinds of strands of products that will be coming out — edibles and oils," he said.

"This is having an impact on the markets for cannabis and attitudes towards cannabis around the globe."

Bruce Linton, chair and co-chief executive officer of Ontario-based Canopy Growth, also spoke to the conference with Stewart. Stewart joined Canopy Growth Corp. in an advisory role to help develop a new line of products. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Canadians looking to buy cannabis-infused brownies or lotions will find a "limited selection" in legal stores by mid-December at the earliest, the federal government says, but industry players expect the full rollout of next-generation pot products to come in 2020 or later.

Health Canada regulations governing the new classes of cannabis-infused goods, including topicals put on the skin and vaporizable concentrates will come into force on Oct. 17 — exactly one year since the legalization of recreational pot in Canada. 

However, the agency noted that after the law takes effect, federal cannabis licence-holders must provide 60 days notice to the agency of their intent to sell new products.

Riedle said he expects that is when more Canadians will embrace cannabis culture. 

"The majority of new customers — the 'canna-curious' — are looking for new delivery systems for cannabis. Elderly and new cannabis consumers don't want to put smoke in their lungs. They are looking for edibles, they are looking for vapes, and topicals," he said.

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