By ANDREA EYMANN
Special to the Wreckhouse Weekly
PORT AUX BASQUES – Coffee is one of world’s most loved beverages, and Canadians consume 2.7 cups every day, but to pair it with a cannabis outlet is far from commonplace. Oceanic Releaf plans to do both.
The company opened their first store in Burin Bay Arm, NL, in Dec. 2020. This summer, Oceanic Releaf will be opening another store in Port aux Basques. Oceanic Cannabis and Coffee will be located at 20 High Street and will offer a drive thru service.
For three years, Taylor Giovannini, CEO of Oceanic Releaf, has been trying to branch into this region and at long last it will become a reality. When previous partner, HIKU, was bought by a larger company, the expansion into Port aux Basques was put on hold.
Since then, Oceanic Releaf has had to wait for the latest request for proposal (RFP) to get the go ahead and start building. The proposal was finally accepted on May 28.
“We are excited to finally come to Port aux Basques,” wrote Giovannini via e-mail.
The store will offer a variety of dried flowers, pre-rolls, edibles and topicals, as well as the coffee. Giovannini says she wants to normalize the use of cannabis and educate the public on its benefits. Combining the two product lines in one store will facilitate that.
“Coffee is something everyone can relate to and enjoy. So, it’s another way to get people in the door to show them how normal cannabis can be and ultimately to educate them.”
“I fell in love with the medical side of cannabis,” continues Giovannini, “then I recognized the large stigma associated with cannabis, so I was driven to tear down those barriers and create a brand to educate people on cannabis.”
The Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology, Andrew Parsons, has been involved with the legalization process of cannabis in the province for the past several years and has worked with cannabis industry leaders, including Giovannini. He welcomes the news that Oceanic Releaf will be setting up shop in his district of Burgeo – La Poile.
“I’m really excited to finally see the industry arrive on the Southwest Coast. I know it’s something that Oceanic has been working on for a long time,” said Parsons. “It’s not a simple process.”
He also confirms that there’s no public money involved.
“This was a process that was done through the NLC (Newfoundland Labrador Liquor Corporation),” Parsons says. “I’m just happy as an MHA and as a resident to see this opportunity come to town, and like any business I’ll do what I can to help.”
Having a new brick and mortar location in the region is always good news says Parsons. Oceanic Releaf will be opening four other locations in Whitbourne, Bonavista, Clarenville, and Torbay Road.
“Last year, Newfoundland’s cannabis market was $53 million,” observes Giovannini.
She is confident that the new Port aux Basques location will be a success, and hopes that Oceanic Releaf will become Newfoundland’s cannabis brand to start. After that, she envisions great things for the company.
“The little engine that could,” says Giovannini, “and stretch it across the country and world.