This week’s Trailblazer is Karim Rahill, Sales Director of MTL Cannabis, a “flower-first” Canadian Licensed Producer based out of Montreal, Quebec, known for their signature Sage n’ Sour. 

Questions with a Cannabis Industry Trailblazer

When did you first become involved in the cannabis industry and why?

I started in 2001 by selling hydroponic equipment alongside MTL Cannabis’ co-founders Mitch and Rich. I love smoking weed, and I wanted to learn how to grow it. Working at the shop provided a legitimate opportunity to learn more about cannabis and become immersed in a culture of people who were also passionate about the plant. I started growing for medical patients and helped set up hydro systems so that others could cultivate their medicine through this process. 

It’s almost surreal to be working with the original team 20 years later and share our commitment to the craft with consumers across the country. We’re a brand “built for the modern street,” meaning we get to bring the best of what we know to the shelves. 

I continue to be humbled by the positive response Sage n’ Sour has earned, and I’m very grateful to have a career that lets me talk about weed every day.

MTL cannabis sour n sage

What has been the biggest marketing challenge you have faced when working with cannabis companies/brands?

Cannabis is an interactive product. People want to experience it with their senses before making a purchase. It can be challenging to articulate the quality and physical characteristics of the bud from pictures alone. We would love to have a live sales catalogue where we can show Sage n’ Sour to retailers and share samples with consumers beyond just a “smell jar.” 

As a flower-first company, bag appeal is everything, and we want people to experience our product at the point of purchase.

If you could change one of the current Canadian or American marketing restrictions on cannabis, which would it be?

Touching on my previous answer, I would love to see consumption lounges and the option for in-store sampling, even just interacting with actual bud in real-time. Smell it, squish it, look at it up close. The regulations against opening any cannabis products in the store are ultimately a detriment to the consumer.

MTL cannabis

In your observation, what marketing techniques or channels have been most effective for cannabis companies looking to connect with consumers?

It’s not a technique, but many MTL Cannabis’ success comes from having a team who knows and appreciates good weed. When I talk to retailers, I’m genuinely there to enjoy a conversation about cannabis. I love getting recommendations on new products to try, and I love seeing the different stores’ uniqueness and staff. One of MTL’s values is “never stop enjoying the ride” and think people relate to that energy. In addition, I love leading product knowledge sessions because I believe sharing knowledge is a great way to connect with people.

Are there any other Trailblazers in the cannabis industry that you follow?

I love seeing more and more quality cannabis flowers entering the market; MTL Cannabis is definitely in good company. I’ve been enjoying Lot420’s Gelato 33. It’s a lovely flower, grown in Quebec at a standard I can appreciate. I also like Carmel’s Animal Face pre-rolls, despite being more of a roll-my-own kind of guy. I find their pre-rolls to be pretty on par with their dried flower.

Sage n sour

What is one tip or piece of advice you would give to people looking to enter the cannabis industry?

Know your weed! Many consumers are well-educated in cannabis, and it’s critical to meet them at their level.

Cannabis Marketing Trailblazers

A big thank you to Karim for participating as this week’s Trailblazer! Stay tuned for another interview with a cannabis marketing Trailblazer next Thursday in the ADCANN blog.

Interested in working with one of these talented cannabis marketers? Check out our Agency Directory for a list of all the agencies that specialize in working with cannabis companies.

Last Updated on September 9, 2021 by ADCANN

Spencer Tropea

Spencer Tropea

Spencer Tropea is a seasoned creative and certified cannabis sommelier with 15 years of experience in PR, design, and photography. He's worked with several prominent cannabis brands across North America, using his unique skills to craft engaging narratives that breathe life into the industry and the passionate people invloved.