Published Jan 13, 2021Our Lady Peace frontman Raine Maida has become the latest Canadian artist to get involved in the country's legal cannabis business, as he's taken a role on the board of LOOP/POOL, a new brand that places a special emphasis on supporting homegrown artists.
For Maida, cannabis is a relatively new interest. "Being in the music business, cannabis has always been around me, but it was never really my thing," he tells Exclaim! "I've had asthma since I was young, and, being a singer, I've always had to be hyper-conscious about lung health. The normalization and sophistication of cannabis products, especially on a medicinal basis, was a game-changer."
With lung health in mind, Maida — who also plays in the duo Moon Vs. Sun with wife Chantal Kreviazuk — prefers cannabis edibles over flower. He cites the indica strain Purple Nepal as a particular favourite.
"I use cannabis as a natural sleep aid," he explains. "My touring and travel schedule has me constantly jumping between time zones and suffering from sleep deprivation, so the ability to use it to help get my cycle back in sync is key."
It goes without saying that Maida's travel schedule has been non-existent lately. The coronavirus pandemic means that he and other artists haven't been touring — and that's what makes LOOP/POOL's launch especially timely. The brand will be developing initiatives to support Canadian artists impacted by the pandemic, uniting the company's cannabis arm ("LOOP") with its philanthropic division ("POOL"). Other artists who have partnered with LOOP/POOL include Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy, Kiesza, and more to be named soon.
In a press release, Maida says this about the initiative: "With pandemic-related restrictions on touring and social gatherings, musicians everywhere are being challenged to reach listeners in new ways. That's why launching LOOP/POOL as an innovative way to help emerging artists grow is so important right now. As artist-owners, we understand how difficult it is to be seen and heard, let alone paid. By opening up opportunities so that cannabis can give back to empower creativity and music together, that's the benefit we're going to bring for the Canadian music community."
LOOP products — which initially will include pre-rolls, flower, and gummy edibles — will be sold in cannabis stores across Canada. At least five percent of all proceeds will go to POOL's grant programs for Canadian artists.
LOOP/POOL has soft-launched its website, and further announcements will be coming soon. In December, the company appeared on the entrepreneurial CBC show Dragons' Den.
"The widespread legalization and acceptance of cannabis has changed the medicinal game," Maida tells Exclaim!, adding that he's happy to see changes taking placing in Canada's justice system: "It's also been a hugely an important start for criminal justice reform and drug policies."