With 9,200 people employed (and numbers increasing) in an industry that contributes $8.26B to the Canadian economy and plenty of taxes, aspects of legalization can be celebrated as successes. Other smaller-ticket achievements include a faster (though more restrictive) Health Canada licensing process, and provincial and municipal governments softening on retail and processing. Those good things help offset the parts of the last year that stank:
Botaniq, Bloomberg, Twitter—CannaTom
- lower legal REC sales than expected,
- plummeting stock prices,
- disappointed consumers and aggrieved investors,
- Ontario’s botched retail rollout,
- LPs acknowledging they now have too much mid-quality stock nobody wants.
Financial Post, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, The Province
- That’s before we get to the Bonify and CannTrust scandals and the revocation of Agrima’s licenses.
CBC Manitoba, MJ Biz Daily, CBC Health
- REC retailers and others in the industry remained optimistic, but they don’t really have any other choice.
CBC British Columbia
The industry remains frustrated and confused with Health Canada’s strict-yet-vague advertising regulations. Among the unclear regulations that came into effect on Thursday are new rules limiting REC retail logos and brand elements to no larger than 300 square centimetres, or about the size of a shoebox lid–but without clear guidance on the places that rule was to be applied.
- Lawyer Chad Finkelstein broke down the questions a marketing team needs to ask in order to develop compliant advertising. Cannabis Retailer offered a list of dos and don’ts for REC promotion. Globe and Mail, Cannabis Retailer
The illicit market remains “vibrant” according to virtually all estimations, helped by minimal REC retail rollouts and prices nearly half that of the legal market.
- Also helping illicit production are the number of growers who attempted and failed to receive Health Canada approval—but went ahead and grew all the same.
Ici Radio-Canada—In French
- Meanwhile, the illicit dispensary model has shifted to a system of underground delivery services that will be harder for police and bylaw officers to stamp out.
CBC Politics, Vice
- Former Liberal health and justice minister Anne McLellan, chair of the 2016 legalization task force, stressed, “You do not create a regularized market in a year.” Noting Canada still has markets for illicit tobacco and alcohol products, McLellan said she expected within a decade illicit cannabis trade could be reduced by 80%.
Globe and Mail
- Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics lab predicted legal cannabis will reach 50% of total sales by 2025.
Twitter—The Food Professor