Oh, Cannabis: How to Host an Incredible, and Incredibly Canadian Celebration

canada day
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After decades of going steady, cannabis and Canadian summers have finally made it official! And, according to a recent Maru/Blue survey, more than 20% of Canadians are keen to incorporate cannabis into their Canada Day festivities.

Maru/Blue

Being the first Canada Day since cannabis achieved legalization means there’s good cause to celebrate with a party dedicated to both halves of this blessed union.

Consider this your complete guide to the drinks, snacks, songs, and smokes that’ll put the eh(hhhh) in your Canada Day.

Inhale

4/20 Events cannabis ottawa
Photo by Jesse Milns

Serve your favourite party buds, or celebrate the work of our homegrown breeders with these oh-so-Canadian cultivars:

Jean Guy

Hailing from Montreal, Jean Guy is an uplifting variety renowned for its euphoric qualities. Recommended for daytime use, this White Widow phenotype is fragrant with lemon and pine. Thanks to its high THC content, Jean Guy can pack a punch, so be sure to have some CBD on hand to mitigate anxiety or paranoia.

God Bud

This legendary BC bud will get you and your guests good and stoned. Fans say its heady buzz and relaxing, euphoria-inducing effects are truly divine, but it’s better suited to a chill evening party with close friends than a chatty afternoon-BBQ with a crowd.

Island Sweet Skunk

Another West Coast classic, this energizing cultivar is as lauded for its pain and stress-relieving properties as its uplifting ones. With notes of sweet fruit and skunk, Island Sweet Skunk is recommended for daytime use.

Whatever you choose to serve, stay on-theme by presenting prerolls inside a patriotic shot glass, or buying accessories like pipes and bongs from local, craft vendors. Prefer to vaporize? Arizer, Utillian, Vapium, and Zeus are all headquartered in Canada.

Eat

You need fat to fashion a good cannabis infusion, so it’s lucky that Canuck classics are traditionally heavy on the butter—and the lard. And the sugar.

Nanaimo Bars
Photos by Kaleena Lindsay for Leafly

Add cannabutter to your favourite Nanaimo bar or butter tart recipe, or serve modern favourites, like Indian tacos with cannabis sour cream, or infused donair sauce on just about anything.

But for the love of Casey and Finnegan, please do your best to estimate the potency of your infusions, and label all cannabis edibles accordingly, because nothing says ‘total hoser’ like accidentally intoxicating your friends.

Prefer to save the cannabis for inhaling? That’s cool, but this party still needs food! Only-in-Canada snacks like ketchup and all-dressed chips, Coffee Crisps, Smarties, and Bits & Bites are good for a casual crowd, or class things up with a platter of locally sourced nibbles and fresh, seasonal produce. Depending on your region, this might include cherries, strawberries, and blackberries, or a crudité platter of fennel, peas, and peppers.

Or, grab a Canadian-centric cookbook and whip up something special. Feast, Recipes & Stories from a Canadian Road Trip and Where People Feast: An Indigenous People’s Cookbook are both great places to start.

Drink

caesar cocktail Two mason jar Bloody Mary or Caesar with bacon on wood background

There’s a good reason bacon-garnished Caesars have become a Canada Day cliché—they’re damned delicious. Luckily, there is a way to freshen them up: skip the vodka, infuse the bacon, and look forward to a future where cannabis-infused bevies are boringly common, too.

Or, you know, just serve beer.

Statistically, we Canadians are pretty fond of that too. No matter what you choose for your star beverage, remember to offer a buzz-free option, too: fruit-infused sparkling water is always nice.

Dance

No one could fault your patriotism for choosing a playlist composed entirely of Tragically Hip songs, but the Canadian legends and Up Cannabis partners aren’t the only weed-loving musicians from around here.

Alanis Morissete, Neil Young, The Weeknd, Drake, Justin Bieber, the musicians of Rush, and the late Leonard Cohen have all expressed a fondness for our nation’s second-most iconic leaf, so you can easily compile a Can-Con playlist that is also secretly Cann-Con. We got you started:

Do

Not all cannabis-lovers can afford to celebrate this Canada Day, particularly if they’re incarcerated, dealing with the expensive legacy of past incarceration, or drowning in medical cannabis costs.

Remember Canada’s reputation for kindness and consider putting out a donation jar or a call for online contributions to Cannabis Amnesty or Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM).

Canada is a pleasant place to live for so many because we rate high on our sense of belonging, and our shared commitment to human rights and equity. So even if you don’t prepare nationally-themed bud, brews, and ballads, you can make your party uber-Canadian by just being a kind and welcoming host.

Happy Canada Day!