The NXNE festival is underway in Toronto, and Aurora is using this event as a way to engage audiences in conversations about cannabis.
Aurora Cannabis Inc. is one of the world’s largest federally licensed, medical cannabis companies with a growing portfolio and global reach.
Daily Hive spoke to Paula Whitmore, Aurora’s Director of Partnerships and Events to find out how the company is supporting the arts and creating a positive dialogue around cannabis.
Connecting with audiences
As a presenting partner of NXNE, Aurora is hosting an array of events including panel discussions, art shows, comedy, and an experiential space at Yonge-Dundas Square.
“We’re passionate about supporting the communities we serve and connecting through a variety of channels,” says Whitmore. “NXNE is a great opportunity to connect with lots of different interests and tastes in music and creativity.”
Aurora is employing brand ambassadors to “share a little bit of awareness about Aurora but also mainly have conversations about cannabis on its own, the plant and the medicine.”
“We always continue to speak about medical cannabis because that is the foundation of our business and it is probably and will continue to be the most important element of what we do.”
“As medicine, it’s had valid and incredible results as a therapy and treatment,” says Whitmore, but acknowledges that “there is a lot of work to be done in the months ahead to destigmatize this particular product.”
Ending the stigma
Whitmore believes that the most important element of ending the stigma around cannabis is to show that “it can be apart of anyone’s life in a responsible and healthy way.”
“Legalization is important for society as a whole and those who choose to consume cannabis for non-medicinal purposes should have the right to be able to do that. Our main goal going forward, if people do decide to make that choice as an adult, is to facilitate responsible use.”
“You can be a great parent, a senior executive of a multinational firm, a professional, a member of your church community, and on and on and on and still consume cannabis and all will be wonderful. It’s also fine if you choose not to.”
The point is not that cannabis is for everyone, but rather that it should be an individual’s choice to consume. Access to information is also important so that consumption can be practiced safely.
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“For those that are interesting in consuming recreationally, they need to able to make choices of where they are getting it so they are sure of quality, what they getting, being sure that quality controls and measures are in place from seed all the way to cultivation and packaging and shipping off to various regulatory bodies.”
Knowing where your cannabis is coming from is just as important as knowing how to consume effectively and responsibly.
Whitmore says that we need to “have those conversations in an open environment where it doesn’t feel like you’re talking about drugs. Breaking down those barriers is really important.”
Accessible information is needed for “those that are curious and are interested in learning more about cannabis for their own personal use or how they can talk to their mother who’s suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and can benefit from cannabis.”
Aurora is connecting with communities to “provide general awareness about cannabis as a whole.”
Aurora supports a variety of events across the country, including music, film, dance, theatre, and fine art. In addition to NXNE, they are involved in Montreal’s Muralfest, Vancouver Pride, and the Rheanna Bowl in Edmonton which supports families battling childhood cancer.
Aurora looks to the “interest and lifeblood of the city” to determine beneficial community partnerships.
“Our arts and cultural initiative is really to support creators and communities and provide opportunities for artists to be able to showcase their work and audiences to be able to enjoy them.”