In 2022, more cannabis retail stores closed down than opened. Many licensed producers downsized, merged or were acquired. This extreme volatility impacted people across our community who experienced massive shifts in their careers, from layoffs to new jobs and promotions.
Despite all this uncertainty, CannaReps was able to certify 500 new Cannabis Sommeliers in our Level 1 program in 2022 to some of the most passionate industry professionals.
As CannaReps moved through last year’s rough waters, we held our breath, took on some risks and delivered bespoke educational events to stimulate the industry and empower you and other cannabis professionals, like you, across the country.
Education, Corporate Training & Continued Education
This year, CannaReps certified another 500 Level 1 Cannabis Sommeliers to our alumni of 2000. These Cannabis Sommeliers displayed dedication to improving the industry through impactful product recommendations and deepening the cannabis conversation with their customers. Congratulations to all our new graduates on furthering their careers in the cannabis industry.
As the tsunami of COVID slammed the industry, CannaReps shifted away from the turbulent waters and established new collaborations with LPs. With full faith that “a rising tide lifts all boats,” we partnered with organizations that shared our vision of empowering the Budtender community. These collaborations took shape in private training sessions, group tastings and Collector’s Cup events. By strengthening our partnerships with the Budtenders Association, Lift, O’Cannabiz, and Grow Op, we connected with thousands of industry professionals across the country.
Not only did we rise with the tide, but CannaReps also provided customized training sessions to organizations across Canada including Sensi Brands, STÓ:LŌ Aboriginal SASET group, Healing House Medicinal, Tantalus Labs, Inspired Cannabis, and Rose Life Sciences. Whether these companies were onboarding new staff or developing employees for improved effectiveness, these organizations linked arms with CannaReps to grow our community. For organizations looking to improve their offering with better knowledge, skills, and service, please reach out to us for custom training sessions that focus on your products and brands.
Community & Events
With the intention to build community and empower Budtenders, the CannaReps team boldly took on the risk to run cannabis consumption events and bud cups across Canada last year. The bespoke Collector’s Cup events that took place in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver proved that cannabis lovers across the country were craving in-person events and eager to learn and taste our assortment of cannabis. In an unexpected and delightful display of community love, 60 volunteers from across the country donated an entire day of hard work, muscle, and lungs to make the 6 Collector’s Cups successful. We are forever grateful for the monumental help from these volunteers and look forward to bringing more engaging events to a city near you in 2023. Our event calendar is up!
Study Hall Sessions
These continuing education sessions are reserved for our Cannabis Sommelier students and graduates, old and new. We meet virtually every week to dive deep into the latest cannabis research and discuss the market’s hot products, poor-performing SKUs and product reviews of the latest drops. Our group includes LP product reps, product makers, growers, retail managers and product purchasers, and of course, Budtenders. If you are a student or a graduate, stay tuned for a special survey to lock down the schedule for 2023.
In July of 2022, CannaReps co-founder and Headmaster Adolfo Gonzalez departed CannaReps. This was a heavy blow to our team and students as his passion and knowledge are entrenched in the Cannabis Sommelier programs. As Adolfo continues his career in the industry as a Brand Ambassador for Sensi Brands, we will hold space in our hearts for him as a friend, mentor, professor and colleague.
One of our favourite cannabis immigrants from France, Axel Holin, our Business Development Manager, dedicated 9 months with us before moving on to work as a Sales and Training Manager at Seed and Stone. As with all CannaReps students and team members, we are proud to have provided a positive work experience that develops cannabis enthusiasts into skilled professionals that take their careers to new heights.
Mike Chyczij, Master Grower and Living Soil educator welcomed a new baby into the world. Dymetrius Mykhailo Chyczij was born prematurely at 28 weeks and in critical condition. We hope and pray that baby recovers to live a full life. As Mike’s newborn requires 24/7 care, he had to step away from work to care for his baby. The financial burden of being a new father can be overwhelming so we encourage you to read about and donate to baby Dymetrius here.
Sharon Singh, our COO and Dean of Students, has touched the lives of every single student through virtual or in-person support. Her operational and technical expertise has helped build the machine that runs our school so that we can deliver exceptional online and in-person educational experiences. You can see her work come to life on our website and learning platform, in live course productions and community events to name a few. Her passion for equitable cannabis and educational empowerment programs is the foundation for her unwavering kindness and dedication to the CannaReps community. She earned her right throughout her 4+ years and became a part owner/shareholder of CannaReps last spring.
2022 was a year of transition as society adjusted to the destabilizing effects of the COVID pandemic. For myself, over the pandemic I had transitioned from being an independent professional toker to reducing my cannabis consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding my firstborn child. When I lost Adolfo as a business partner, I transitioned out of my maternity leave and placed my baby boy into daycare. This massive shift in my personal life came with guilt for leaving my child at daycare but at the same time newfound excitement for diving back into the cannabis industry. There is no other industry that I’ve worked in that holds an abundance of love and support. The community that we have built is thanks to you, our students and supporters. The community support that I experienced through our huge network of volunteers eager to help and our students sharing their success stories has been the fire and fresh air that stokes my motivation to continue to serve the cannabis industry through our educational programs. I am more excited than ever before to bring the CannaReps programs to life by engaging with cannabis retailers and producers of fine cannabis products.
With that said, Sharon and I will be going on tour across Canada and look forward to connecting with you in 2023.
CEO & Principal, CannaReps