CannaBiz 2017

CannaBiz 2017

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Welcome to CannaBiz magazine – the inaugural edition of a Glacier Media publication that will enlighten readers about business opportunities that will undoubtedly arise as recreational marijuana use becomes legal across Canada.

The significance of this legalization in creating a new and uncharted field of opportunities for entrepreneurs is hard to overstate.

Many will likely be surprised, particularly those who turn a cold shoulder to the drug, do not smoke marijuana and have no intention of doing so once the drug is legal.

Indeed, there remains a stigma against the drug in some quarters, with various politicians and activists loudly opposing opening the door to easier access.

But the federal government has been clear that legalization will be upon us, and that move will undoubtedly open new legal niches as well as work for accountants, marketers, business advisers and more.

When Business in Vancouver Media Group hosted a panel discussion on cannabis legalization on October 19, the room at the Shangri-La Vancouver was packed with entrepreneurs and others eager to get on the bandwagon and learn what opportunities could be in store.

Some were looking to perform electrical work for legal grow-ops. Others wanted work developing brands or mused about the impact on labour law.

Still more operated head shops that sell marijuana accessories or were consultants with expertise helping aspiring licensed producers to get approved by Health Canada.

It may not be too much of an overstatement to equate the emerging business opportunities in the legal marijuana space with those that arose along with the internet in the 1990s.

Many people then had no desire to buy shoes or conduct banking online much less to immediately share photos of their dinner with thousands of friends via the new technology.

Few now can imagine living without using the internet, and, with each mouse click, they are providing opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Various gold rushes and pivotal inventions have happened through time with each providing new business opportunities – often for the proverbial picks and shovels that service the newfound sector.

Legalizing marijuana is often equated with the end of Prohibition although the only national prohibition against alcohol in Canada was for a mere two years between 1918 and 1920 – hardly long enough for black-market players to entrench themselves yet short enough for past systems to be reinstated without much apprehension.

The legalization of marijuana is different because it has been outlawed for 94 years and has likely had a vibrant underground economy for about as long.

Stories in this magazine will trace how legalization efforts have evolved through time and explain how various levels of government plan to deal with fresh responsibilities. There is insight on how various U.S. states approached legalizing marijuana. One story explores the scientific-testing niche and opportunities that arise with all legal marijuana having to be tested in a lab. Another story explains the likelihood for the courts to determine what marketing will be allowed, assuming that Ottawa’s Bill C-45 becomes law.

Sprinkled through this magazine will also be columns from insiders in various subsets of the cannabis business.

- Glen Korstrom, editor