As state-by-state legalization sweeps across the United States, the inevitability of full federal legalization becomes clearer every day. Not only are states passing legislation for recreational use, but the majority of Americans support legalization as well. 

Overwhelming support for legal marijuana in the U.S. is clear. According to a survey by Pew Research, it was found that an overwhelming share (91%) of people in the U.S. believe that marijuana should be legal for either medical or recreational uses.

With legalization proceedings in the U.S., many companies are beginning to migrate their brands into Canada. For example, with the recent expansion of the iconic Cookies brand that has started hitting shelves in Canada, there’s no better time to take a look at the trends and values of American cannabis brands heading north.  

Below, we’ll explore some of the big names in cannabis that do this and how licensing U.S. brands could reshape the cannabis market. 

American Cannabis Brands That Have Come to Canada

What’s a destination brand?

A destination brand refers to how attractive, credible, and recognizable the brand is. In cannabis, brands such as Cookies or Wana do an amazing job capturing the essence and facets of their products. 

Connecting with the public through social media and cultural outlets creates a legitimacy with your brand that customers can recognize and be attracted to.

Authenticity matters, but so does having the brand on shelves. The U.S. brands that will thrive in Canada will be the ones that will be able to match the consistency in quality that it has in the United States as well as remain true to its affordable price point. These brands need to resonate with the customer and if they don’t have the same expectations, they’ll fall flat.

Jay Rosenthal, Co-Founder and President of Business of Cannabis

Wana (Indiva)

Starting off hot with Wana, a premium, well-known American brand aimed to drive sales in the Canadian cannabis space. Definitely considered a “destination brand”, Wana resonates with people among a large consumer set and is a top-selling edible brand in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia

Cannabis brands that can create an “outsized splash” in the industry by creating more destination brands are able to help to strengthen the Canadian cannabis position. Wana also brings a combo of noticeable features to the marketplace; it’s usually always on shelves, the packaging is noticeable, and the quality is consistent and good.

Cookies (Gage)

The popular “blue baggie” brand, Cookies, is officially launching in Canada very soon. Made popular by cannabis icon and hip-hop musician Berner, Cookies is known worldwide for their high-quality cannabis and clothing products. Partnering with Gage, Cookies will be launching within the next few months across Canada. 

Like Wana, Cookies has left a big mark in the industry so far. This iconic brand has the power to shake up the marketplace if the price is right and the quality is consistent. Although Canada isn’t dependent on Cookies, high success output could make a large economic impact to create more jobs and retain its place in Canada.


With a combined 43M social following, not many do cannabis marketing better than Ignite’s founder Dan Bilzerian. Having this strong engagement as well as partnering with Lifeist_ Wellness Inc. (Formerly Namaste Technologies) in March of 2020, Ignite has demonstrated a huge competitive advantage in Canada’s cannabis marketing and advertising industry.

In Ignite’s official announcement to Canada, they stated that their product will be able to be found on CannMart, another subsidiary of Lifeist_ Wellness Inc. Shortly after partnering, Ignite issued CannMart an exclusive license to utilize specific brand trademarks on their cannabis-based products in Canada. With Dan’s large following and Lifeist_ making large developments in 2020 and 2021, these companies will likely be able to capitalize and create value for years to come in Canada.

Marley Natural (Tilray/High Park)

Being one of the major players in the industry, Tilray was the first Canadian company that received approval from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to ship products into the United States. In 2019, High Park, a subsidiary of Tilray, unveiled its next phase of cannabis products. Within this phase, they launched their partnership with an established U.S. cannabis brand Marley Natural to be featured in select stores across Canada.

We believe great brands, consistent quality, and product innovation are the engines of an enduring and vibrant cannabis industry.

Adine Fabiani-Carter, High Park’s Chief Marketing Officer

Houseplant (Seth Rogen)

Switching over to the trend of cannabis brands coming to the U.S., back in early March, Seth Rogen announced that his Canadian brand Houseplant will be coming to the U.S. market in California. Although having connections with Canopy Growth Corporation in Canada, Houseplant has been working with a group of undisclosed cultivators across California since March. 

Under Canada’s Cannabis Act, promoting Cannabis in Canada can create some legal difficulties. With Houseplant being in the U.S., Rogen is able to openly promote his products to the US market. Aside from the packaging being made of tin in the U.S. instead of plastic, one of the most important differences is that the cannabis isn’t exactly the same. Houseplant’s Canada Sativa is a Chemdawg strain and Houseplant’s US Sativa is actually classified as Pancake Ice.

To Licence an American Cannabis Brand or Build Your Own?

Licensing U.S. cannabis is a vertical that is expected to be a major growth driver for the entire Canadian market. As of now, brands migrating north don’t yet seem to oversaturate the marketplace; rather, these U.S. brands are helping to build something bigger through partnerships in Canada.

Currently, it makes sense to transition to Canada as most partnerships are strictly made through licensing deals. The overall impact U.S. brands have had on the job market has been minimal to positive. As Canada’s cannabis makes legal and social strides, companies continue to expand and look for more capacity and more people.

Brian Sekandy, CEO of Careers Cannabis

American Cannabis Brings Consistency

  • Touching on the relationships that Wana and Indiva are creating or how Cookies is partnering with Gage shows equal opportunity growth opportunities for the U.S. brand and the Canadian company. 
  • U.S. cannabis can be beneficial for consumers as well. Canadian consumers deserve more choices around things they want, true destination brands, and quality productㅡthe more options, the better. 
  • Although the genetics (seed) of a plant is harder to move around the borders, edibles are a set formulation of taste and consistency making them easier for companies to bring in the brand name.
  • Too much consistency can lead to people leaning on U.S. brands too much. If you can’t steadily match the quality consistency that the product has, the expectations will fall flat.
  • Competition with U.S. companies who have more ability to drive these practices and messages through Canadian cannabis companies may create too much presence through their destination brands to take over a large portion of the market. On the flipside, Canada still produces some of the most premium products in the world in which many brands can still translate into the United States.

For the time being, companies that pay money to license existing brand names from the U.S. have been creating solid working relations. Impacts on employment and the market have benefited and negative impacts have been minimal.

American vs Canadian Marketing Restrictions

American brands may find coming to Canada to be more attractive due to the simplicity of dealing with one nation-wide regulation instead of state by state in the United States. IP licensing partnerships can also aid in cutting through the early stages of growing a brand, yet this does not guarantee U.S. brands will do well in Canada but can cut through the noise. 

U.S. brands also use more traditional marketing methods and paid advertisements that can show flashy packaging, celebrity endorsements, and things that appeal to all. Canadian cannabis brands are restricted in marketing regulations. This, in turn, can discourage well-known household brands in Canada to be built and allows US companies to dominate with our restrictive marketing regulations. 

As Canada expects some of these restrictions to be lifted in the near future, this could prove to be a major catalyst for growth for new Canadian cannabis brands.

Last Updated on September 10, 2021 by ADCANN

Liam Placek

Liam Placek

Multi-Disciplinary Copywriter versed in long-form blogs and articles. Research nerd and craft cultivator. Practiced social media manager with an eye for creating strong connections within the public.