An employee takes cuttings from a cannabis mother plant inside the greenhouse facility in Switzerland. (Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg)  

Feel Like a Day at the Spa? There's Cannabis Strain for That

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(Bloomberg) -- Smiling millennials, sleek packaging, talk of personal journeys: Canadian pot companies are revving up the marketing.

Aphria Inc., the country’s third-largest pot producer with a market value of C$2.5 billion ($2 billion), unveiled its first recreational brand Tuesday ahead of legalization of marijuana later this year. Called Solei Sungrown Cannabis, the brand “demystifies cannabis and allows current and novice users alike to enrich their cannabis journey,” Megan McCrae, Aphria’s vice president of marketing, said in a presentation at a Toronto restaurant.

While the federal government has set strict rules for marijuana packaging under draft legislation in March, distribution falls under the jurisdiction of the provinces. Aphria is aiming to get the brand out before stringent advertising regulations are introduced.

Solei appears geared toward experience-focused millennials and women in particular. Its Dream strain for example is “all about rediscovering that cozy feeling of getting tucked in at night.” Soothe “is your day at the spa but without the hefty bill,” and Balance “lets you skip the yoga class altogether and really find your zen.”

Although Aphria presented images of stylish jars and bottles branded with the Solei logo, under federal rules recreational pot must be sold in plain packaging that can only display one “brand element” beyond the product’s name. It must also display a prominent health warning.

McCrae said the limitations will prevent producers from providing consumers with important information about dosage and effects. “That would have been an opportunity for us to actually educate consumers,” she said.

Aphria’s stock has lost almost 40 percent this year after rising more than four fold in 2017. Shares fell as much as 6.5 percent Tuesday amid a broader selloff in the cannabis sector.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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