The Ganjier Series - Team Canada
The Ganjier Series - Team Canada
Canada is currently home to five Certified Ganjier’s and has another four Ganjier students. We are a small team, but we all have different roles within the Canadian Cannabis Industry. The Ganjier Series – Team Canada, is about the people behind the title and how each of us are taking our Certified Ganjier skills and applying them in our own unique way to the Canadian Cannabis Industry.
Thank you to High Moon Magazine for providing us the platform to highlight and educate what a Certified Ganjier is and for featuring the people behind the label. As Publisher, over the course of different volumes of High Moon, I will introduce you to Team Canada. In this edition, I would like to introduce you to the only female Certified Ganjier in Canada, Margaret Madden.
Mark Barbour, Ganjier-In-Training.
Inaugural Class of 2021.
Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.
Margaret “aka Marge” has been experimenting with cannabis edibles for years. She enjoys being in the kitchen to create healthy and nutritious food for herself and her family. Playing around with cannabis as an ingredient naturally happened as an extension to her time in the kitchen. As someone who used to smoke cannabis frequently, she found that cannabis flower has become more potent over the last couple of years. Naturally, her love of cooking is what drew her to edibles as an alternative and found it a much more suitable experience. Now that the legal landscape has changed and the stigma surrounding cannabis use is being shed more people are looking into how cannabis can benefit their lives. Marge is the host of a podcast called Bite Me The Show about Edibles. This podcast helps cooks create fun, safe and effective cannabis edibles at home with weekly episodes. Bite Me boasts over 150 episodes that demonstrate the incredible variety of culinary cannabis. Marge has interviewed more than 20 guests from the Cocktail Whisperer Warren Bobrow, Ardent CEO Shanel Lindsay, cannabis educator Tamara Lilien and celebrated cannabis chefs. A companion website offers a dosage calculator, recipes, episodes, links and discounts for Marge’s favourite products and services and more. When she’s not recording for Bite Me, Marge contributes as a regular panel member at the High On Homegrown podcast which aims to help people grow their own cannabis.
Marge Madden, Sunnabis Farms Tour.
Redway, California. November 2021.
Marge will now share with you her journey to become a Certified Ganjier…
I had never been to northern California, known for rolling hills, panoramic landscapes, and the awe-inspiring majesty of the redwood trees.
I was able to take in the beautiful vistas of California as I was on route to complete the hands-on training and exam for the Ganjier Cannabis Sommelier Certification program; but getting to Humbolt from my home in Peterborough, Ontario was no easy trip. I left in the wee hours of the morning for the hour and a half drive to Pearson International Airport where I boarded a plane headed to San Francisco. When I landed, I took a bus to Santa Rosa and met with a fellow aspiring Ganjier from Texas for the final leg of the journey. Another three hours’ drive north along winding, mountain roads took us to the heart of weed country, where we would finish our training and take the exam.
This week in Humbolt was the culmination of almost twelve months studying the online content, watching, re-watching the videos, taking notes, soaking up the knowledge from a cadre of instructors whose expertise in some cases spanned generations. I was nervous but eager to meet these legends of cannabis in person, to learn the nuances of using the Systematic Assessment Protocol (SAP) - the Ganjier tool designed to assess cannabis quality as objectively as possible. This was an opportunity to meet fellow students some of whom I had met online already - but all as ready as I to make the most of their time in California.
The soft-spoken Managing Director, Derek Gilman, led the small group of students through two days of learning and education, his vision for this certification program coming to life right before his eyes.
The Ganjier Council - a group of eighteen cannabis leaders who came together years prior to start sketching out a rigorous program that would serve to bring cannabis out of the shadows and into the light of day. By creating a structured methodology by which to grade cannabis and supported by the necessary background knowledge of cannabis history, science, cultivation, botany, genetics, consumption, service, and processing, they have sought to change the narrative around cannabis, pushing for the legitimacy enjoyed by adjacent industries like beer and wine. Several Council members were present and made themselves available during the training to share their perspective with the students. Most students hailed from the US, but they also included a cultivator from the British Virgin Islands, a young man from Germany and a Canadian (me). This group shared a common passion for cannabis, and I was struck by the diversity of the people that I was learning alongside.
When I booked my trip to California, I had decided I would also take the exam to maximize my time spent there. After close to a year of home study, two days of classroom learning, a visit to a working cannabis farm and connecting with fellow students, I felt prepared as I ever could.
The exam took the better part of the day and included three sections - a written portion, a customer service role plays and a blind assessment of a cannabis sample in which we had to justify our results. It was nerve wracking, the room silent with students thoughtfully considering their work. In the end, I returned home the first and so far, the sole female Canadian Certified Ganjier.
Since earning my Certification, I have utilized my knowledge to continue my work on Bite Me The Show About Edibles, a podcast that aims to educate and entertain amateur cooks making edibles safely and effectively at home. The knowledge I have infused from the course, gave me a deeper understanding of cannabis that has allowed me to ask better questions of show guests and respond to listener inquiries with a higher degree of confidence.
As the Ganjier Certification becomes more widely recognized, people have begun to understand what this program means in terms of cannabis influence, and it is an instant conversation starter.
I love edibles and will continue to explore new recipes and ideas. I have met so many talented people who do not have an interest in making edibles but in some other aspect of cannabis. I have also started work on a new series called The Faces of Cannabis that aims to highlight interesting people using, growing, and working in cannabis.
This fall I am judging (SAP’ing!) my first cannabis cup and looking forward to making new connections and finding interesting opportunities to leverage my credentials as Certified Ganjier. Daily, I am impressed by the caliber of fellow cannabis sommeliers in Canada, the USA and around the world and I hope to do my part to uphold the ideals of the Ganjier.