Looking Back and Moving Forward
As we begin 2021, we at Token have much to look forward to: receiving our processing license from Health Canada and our sales license soon after, launching our first consumer brand, and starting work with our partners on great cannabis products. As easy as it is to barrel ahead, I took a moment to look back at the year that led us to this point.
At the beginning of 2020, Token was preparing for a year of execution in our facility construction and planning in our operations. What quickly became a year that contained equal parts transition and stillness also became one that allowed us to lay the framework for future performance. For instance, our team already utilized a mix of remote and in-office work, so we were well equipped to perform in an environment of reduced social contact. We kept our operations lean and an eye out for creative industry opportunities. Above all, we were able to thrive in a year of change.
We submitted our Evidence Package to Health Canada
At the end of September, we completed the first phase of construction on our Edmonton facility. Phase One was designed with the ability to operate independently from the rest of the facility and to easily integrate into future phases. We are grateful to the local partners who worked with us to create a space that is in accordance with Health Canada’s guidelines and will be our home base.
We summitted our Evidence Package to Health Canada days later. This was a huge milestone in the journey towards a License to Process cannabis. We’ve continued moving forward within the licensing application structure.
Record cannabis sales show the legal market is recession-resistant
Canadian cannabis sales hit new highs in 2020, improving the position of the legal market. Labeled an essential service, legal cannabis sales accelerated throughout the year. In other words, cannabis appears to be recession resistant. Retailers saw elevated purchasing as customers sought leisure products they could enjoy from home. With a virus that often attacks the lungs running rampant, non-combustible products saw a particular bump. What’s more, we saw Canadian household spending on legal cannabis outpace the illicit market for the first time.
Beyond Canada, many U.S. states applied similar essential service designations to their cannabis industries and saw record sales numbers month over month. A political shift suggests increased administrative and consumer friendliness towards cannabis in the United States in the years to come.
There were discussions on diversity
The world events that unfolded in June cast a spotlight on the state of diversity in every industry. The Canadian cannabis industry was not exempt from the conversation. I was asked for my opinion on the topic by individuals, organizations and media. The conversations were valuable and the output productive. Together with a group of Black cannabis leaders, we formed the Black Canadians in Cannabis working group. Throughout the year, we shared resources and created connections to support and further each other within our industry. We’re always welcoming new members.
Token got a new look
Our year started off with a brand makeover and a new website. We spent the first few months of 2020 working with ZAK, our go-to creative and design agency. ZAK helped us develop a unique and distinct brand identity that feels truer to Token. Read more about the updated branding and why we chose ZAK here. Meanwhile, our current project with them is our first line of consumer products, which we expect to launch in the coming months.
We found new ways to connect with our community
Community has always been held in high regard at Token. When we couldn’t physically connect, we tried to find ways to stay together during months of isolation. We hosted our first virtual yoga event with Sound Vibes YEG and more than 40 people tuned in for some healing vibrations. We also hosted cannabis influencer Anna (aka The Cannabinista) to help us get in the holiday spirit with a festive baking workshop.
Our plant grew with four new employees
In 2020 Token hired on our first Sales Manager, Darren. He has experience working for a large Alberta LP and will be responsible for our partnerships and securing our partner agreements. In addition, he will be working to get our first consumer brand into retail stores. We also brought on two marketing interns, Rea and Manoj, who are helping to support growth on the marketing team and added a new member, Annette, to the finance team.
In conclusion, we have some big goals on the horizon for this year. We’ll be hiring, building, creating and producing. I am continually grateful to my team and our investors for their support this past year and onwards. And now, I’m looking towards the blue sky ahead.