A Canadian medical marijuana producer is celebrating Canada's 150th birthday with a special line of cannabis strains. Earlier this month, Organigram - a government-licensed producer (LP) located in Moncton, New Brunswick - announced the release of four, brand new marijuana strains that pay homage to Canada's roots. 

Here they are, with descriptions courtesy of Organigram.

1. Wabanaki

Wabanaki

Loosely translated as “People of the First Light,” Wabanaki represents a First Nations confederation of five Algonquian-speaking nations near the Eastern seaboard: the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, Abenaki and Mi’kmaq. The confederacy, established in the mid-late 1600s, played an essential role in establishing Aboriginal rights in North America.

Wabanaki is a powerful sativa-dominant strain, boasting THC levels of 21.3 per cent.

2. Union Jack

Union Jack

Among the first Europeans to reach Canada’s Eastern shores, the British were integral to the formation of the nation. Proudly flying the Union Jack flag, the Brits – Loyalists and immigrants alike – planted deep roots in the Colonies, before negotiating Confederation alongside the French in 1867.

Union Jack is a curiously unique indica-dominant strain that boasts an impressive 24.6% THC content.

3. Kanata  

Kanata

Drawing from French, British and Aboriginal influences, the name ‘Canada’ itself is representative of all the nation’s founding peoples. Derived from the Huron-Iroquois word ‘kanata,’ (translated as ‘village’ or ‘settlement’) European explorer Jacques Cartier first referred to the region around modern-day Quebec City as ‘Canada’ around 1535. The name was adopted in various applications through the colonies, and eventually, Confederation gave birth to a new nation in 1867, dubbed Canada.

Kanata is a bold indica-dominant flower, boasting THC levels 20.4 per cent.

4. Acadia

The origins of Acadia date back to the mid-1600s, when a large population of French settlers emigrated to regions today established as the Maritime provinces and Quebec. Today, the richness of Acadian culture is celebrated in the Maritime region through music, cuisine and annual festivities.

Acadia is a sativa-dominant strain, due for release later in the summer.

Telling Stories through Cannabis

Organigram launched the strain initiative to celebrate Canada's sesquicentennial birthday, to recognize Canada's emerging role in the marijuana industry and to tell the nation's story through cannabis.

"Obviously with the support and awareness that's been created through the Canada 150 project, we thought it was only a natural connection to look back at the history of Canada and leverage that kind of awareness in and around Canada 150 to create a naming thematic," Ray Gracewood - Organigram's Chief Commercial Officer - told Civilized. "But we also like to tell a story. So if we can use naming conventions to make a connection back to our heritage and to celebrate the history of Canada then I think it's a great story."

To begin telling that story, the Organigram team reflected on the peoples that created the nation.

"We started with three macro groups that we thought made the most sense: the First Nations, French and English," Gracewood explained. "We also wanted something that would wrap up the entire idea that people can relate to. From those buckets, we had a brainstorm session and came up with several ideas. Then we had a polling and research session to get some external feedback on what resonated, what related back to the big idea, and what people found interesting. And that's how we found the four names that we landed on."

The strain initiative is about celebrating Canada's past as well as the near future, when the federal government fulfils Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's pledge to legalize recreational marijuana by Canada Day (July 1) 2018.

"It combines the opportunity of a nod to our past but also at the same time celebrating the future of cannabis and Canada's position within the industry," Gracewood added. "But even more than that, it's understanding and celebrating how it's evolved recently. And how it's been elevated and the stigma is starting to be removed as we embark on this adult, recreational journey with Canada."

Right now, the strains can only be purchased by medical marijuana patients, but that could change once recreational legalization becomes law. Gracewood says these strains aren't just for Canada's birthday. They're here to stay. And he hinted that Organigram might release a special strain to commemorate the end of cannabis prohibition in Canada next summer.

"We'll be looking for a lot of different opportunities to celebrate significant moments as we move along. And obviously the advent of the adult recreational market will be a massive one. I would be very surprised if we didn't have a product or a line of products that didn't celebrate that."