It only seems fitting that Roald Dahl - the British novelist who created classic children's characters like Willy Wonka - shares his birthday with chocolate magnate Milton S. Hershey. The Hershey Company Chocolate founder was born 159 years ago today while the late author would be celebrating his 100th birthday if he were still alive.
But the legend of both men lives on in Canadian cannabis culture thanks to Tweed - a medical marijuana producer licensed by Health Canada to supply cannabis to approved patients. When Tweed began operating in 2014, the company stood out from other legal cultivators by setting up shop in the old Hershey factory in Smiths Falls, Ontario.
The operation made a particular impression on award-winning filmmaker Ezra Soiferman, who was captivated by the revitalized facility.
"I was fascinated by how Tweed had bought the old Hershey's chocolate factory and decided to make a medical cannabis factory in there," the Montreal-based director told Civilized. "And I thought that that was a brilliant twist to the cannabis industry - a kind of repurposing something that was a celebrated factory but had fallen on hard times when Hershey's left. It was great that they were going to put it to good use."
But the factory still maintains a number of relics from the old Hershey days. Here's how Soiferman - Tweed's inaugural artist-in-residence - described his first tour of the plant.
"When you walk through the factory, they've left a few of the special implements that were used to make the chocolate, including an old copper pot. It's about three feet in diameter. And it's an old chocolate mixing machine made of copper."
But those metal drums are now used for mixing Tweed's house cannabis blend. Just as coffee shops mix different beans together to create signature tastes, Tweed mixes different strains to create a distinct cannabis experience: the Copper Pot Blend.
And that's not the only throwback to the factory's past. Jordan Sinclair - Tweed's Director of Communications - told Civilized that they use an old Hershey oven in their extraction process, and the mixers in the nutrient baths once mixed Jolly Rancher syrup. On top of all that, there's old signage throughout the plant.
"On the walls inside their lobby, they've got a bunch of Hershey's posters - like old memorabilia. Also they've got a 12-foot wide Hershey's Canada sign in the lobby as well," Soiferman told Civilized.
No wonder Tweed's founding CEO was unofficially known as the Willy Wonka of Weed.
Banner image: GiuliaClari / Shutterstock.com