Canna Cabana Toronto: The Store That Treats Customers as Friends

With locations from Red Deer to Toronto, Calgary to Saskatchewan, Canna Cabana is a hugely influential, hugely popular Health Canada-approved licensed cannabis retail emporium. Ben Kaplan spoke with Tremayne Douglas at Canna Cabana Toronto, 435 Yonge Street.
  • BK: Tremayne, what do you think of as the most important bit of your job?

    TD: Taking cannabis and making it mainstream while ensuring it’s in the right hands. Once we do that, we want to make it fun. It’s Disneyland for adults when you walk into our stores.

  • BK: I love that.

    TD: It’s playful sophistication, and our staff is approachable. The big thing is that we don’t want anyone to feel like an outsider. It’s about coming in and learning and, yeah, man, having some enlightened conversations.

  • BK: I like that accent. It’s good to see Jamaicans in Canada in cannabis, showing us how it’s done.

    TD: Respect, man. Everyone here says, “Oh, there’s Jamaicans, here. I trust them!” Jamaica is a brand and me being part of the industry with my tie to the culture, it feels good, authentic, and customers can feel for themselves that we’re for real.

  • BK: What does “canna cabana” mean to you?

    TD: Playful, sophisticated, and approachable.

  • BK: Me and you both share the fact that we’re fathers in the cannabis industry.

    TD: That’s right, the Daddy’s Club. I have two kids so that definitely keeps me busy when I’m not at work.

  • BK: What makes your budtenders special?

    TD: Most of them are also our customers. For us, the priority is providing easy access, lots of knowledge and welcoming all of our visitors. Everyone who comes and sees us wants to come back.

  • BK: Like people who’ve taken a trip to Jamaica.

    TD: Yeah, man. We want everyone to represent themselves. I like that our team has personalities.

  • BK: How big is the Canna Cabana brand?

    TD: We have almost 30 stores now. All over Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Hamilton, Sudbury and Toronto. It’s cool helping usher in new people to the industry and bridge the gap to make it smooth and accessible with great products and prices. Our aim is to be hassle free.

  • BK: It’s important for you to be tied to your communities, right?

    TD: The local business communities in all of our locations work really closely with us. We love when they come over for education and it’s beautiful, man. That we finally have a licensed, tested legal way to distribute cannabis to adults in this country, we want to lower those barriers and bring more people together towards education and understanding cannabis.

  • BK: Right on.

    TD: I think the 2.0 products—the edibles, the vapes—bring in even more people who aren’t keen on smoking or inhaling. So we’re seeing people try mints, chocolates and gummies and we’re not just feeding the old school, the smoking populace. We’re expanding our ecosystem to anyone interested in getting to know what cannabis is all about.

  • BK: What about the OGs?

    TD: They’ll be even happier when they speak to our staff. We’re OGs, ourselves.

  • BK: What do you like about the Canna Cabana vibe?

    TD: You can take a moment and enjoy yourself when you walk into Canna Cabana, get a little island time. Even when outside it’s minus-15!

  • BK: What are you currently smoking?

    TD: We have all the hottest strains, whether they’re from Aurora or Aphria or Broken Coast. The list goes on—Sundial. And in terms of strains, Pink Kush, MK Ultra. But don’t forget the pre-rolls. We have new pre-rolls like Citrus Punch and Tangerine Dream. It’s a good time to be a cannabis fan.

  • BK: What makes you guys unique?

    TD: We celebrate the customers. Every 4:20, we always have a little party. We just want to never forget to celebrate how lucky we are. Cannabis is legal. The vibe is good.

  • BK: Last thing to tell our readers before we descend en masse to your store?

    TD: Don’t ruin anything. Be responsible with your consumption and use our recycling program. We have to take care of the earth as we take care of each other. It’s a full circle, so respect to one and all.