Msiku continues using Indigenous branding despite change in ownership

Msiku continues using Indigenous branding despite change in ownership

Atlanticann confirmed last week they will continue using Msiku, their recreational cannabis brand name, despite no longer being owned by the Association of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs.

“Our brand continues to pay homage and respect to our original shareholders through its original name,” said Christine Halef, CEO of Atlanticann. “We had a great working relationship with the Mi’kmaq and have the utmost respect for them.”

The Association of Mi’kmaq Chiefs declined to comment beyond confirming the sale of their majority stake in Atlanticann sometime in 2021. Crystal Dorey, the Association’s public relations officer, directed all further questions concerning the sale to Halef at Atlanticann.

When Msiku first appeared on shelves a few years ago their flower made waves. The small team in Sackville, Nova Scotia pushed above average craft cannabis at very reasonable prices. Since then, they’ve added new strains like their ICC x Kush Mints #11, which won an award in New Brunswick. They’ve expanded to other provinces and begun introducing concentrates such as their White Wedding shatter. With larger formats slowly coming online, Msiku’s brand has shown no signs of slowing down. So why would the Chiefs sell?

“I can’t speak for why ownership changed,” Halef said. “I can only say that a business decision was made and we respect that fully. This is cannabis – ownership changing hands happens quite often.”

Although we continue to seek sources who may be willing to give us more detail on the motivation behind the sale we will not indulge rumours or speculation out of respect for all parties involved.

When we first reported on Msiku we did so in large part because they were owned by the Mi’kmaq: the ancestral people of Nova Scotia. We highlighted the fact Atlanticann hired Indigenous people and were attracting labour back home from unsustainable industries like oil and gas exploration out west. The Mi’kmaq owners seemed to have infused Atlanticann with a focus on the long term, something uncharacteristic of the Canadian weed scene. Their willingness to reinvest profit, to shoot for quality instead of quantity, to create a lasting brand instead of cashing out for short term gains was what set Msiku apart from its competition. Without the Mi’kmaq Chiefs as majority owners this rare edge is lost.

“Our team and our product speaks for itself,” Halef said. “Giving boots on the ground the value and autonomy they deserve is what gives us a unique advantage. Consumers that have loved our brand before for its quality and consistency will continue to love it for the same reasons.”

For consumers who want to buy from Indigenous owners the continued use of the Msiku brand may be misleading. Atlanticann updated their website to reflect the changes in ownership but won’t be updating their logo or operating name.

There are several Indigenous brands (Red Market Brand, Seven Leaf) across the country consumers can support but the best weed grown by Indigenous folks also happens to be some of the best weed in Canada.

JBuds Craft Cannabis is one of a handful of growers responsible for bringing Ghost Drops’ First Class Funk and Z-Splitter to life. They also grow Orange Tingz. They’re Indigenous-owned and operate out of the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. Next time you’re looking to support an Indigenous owned brand reach no further than Ghost Drops’ First Class Funk. If you’re looking for something a little more cost conscious we recommend Seven Leaf‘s large format available across Ontario.

There are likely many more options available to you specific to your area. Ask your favourite budtender or share something in the comments below.

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