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#CannabisAcrossCanada

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In addition to regular reports for Cannabis Professional, he will be live-tweeting his journey. Follow along with him @grassreporter

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Canadians’ experience with legal cannabis differs dramatically based on where they live.

In Saskatchewan, residents can order recreational cannabis online directly from a private bricks-and-mortar store and have it delivered the same day. Nova Scotians can pick up a pre-roll and a bottle of peppermint schnapps from the same government-owned retailer. Ontario residents are still waiting for their government to figure out how to get more physical stores to open their doors. In Vancouver, meanwhile, convenient access to cannabis has actually declined since the days of prohibition, as only a handful of local legacy-market pot shops have successfully transitioned into the new legal regime.

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There really is only one way to get a sense of how cannabis legalization is going in Canada while taking such wide-ranging regional differences into account: get on the road and ask.

That is exactly what I intend to do.

Starting in Vancouver on Sept. 25 and ending Oct. 17 in in St. John’s – exactly one year after the first gram of legal weed was sold there – I will be driving across the country speaking with the folks trying to bring light to an industry that has spent nearly a century operating in the shadows. Cannabis retailers, processors, marketers, researchers, delivery drivers, consultants and, of course, cultivators in 16 cities across all 10 provinces will share their views on what is working – and what is not – in the legal cannabis world as the industry approaches its first anniversary.

Issues related to balancing supply and demand, combating the illegal market, struggles with profitability, expectations for the coming edibles market, giving entrepreneurs a chance to compete with multibillion-dollar corporations and the state of social stigma towards cannabis use are among just a few of the topics I hope to learn more about along my route.

I will also be asking industry insiders I meet to participate in our first-ever Cannabis Confidence Survey (if you or someone you know works in legal cannabis, they can register here to participate) in hopes of amassing some data to support what to date has been little more than anecdotes.

The road ahead for legal cannabis is littered with potholes capable of delaying arrival at its much-ballyhooed destination, where crime and cannabis use among kids is lower while economic growth and social justice is higher. I am excited to identify where those potholes are and, hopefully, help the country drive around them.

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Itinerary

Jameson will be in the following cities on the following dates.


  • Sept. 25 Vancouver, British Columbia Mike Babins of the Evergreen Cannabis, one of the few legacy-market pot shops in the city to successfully transition to the legal market Read the report: Day 1—How two prohibition-era cannabis entrepreneurs went legit

  • Sept. 26 Chase, British Columbia Habitat Craft Cannabis, a micro-cultivator that uses aquaponics to recycle 99% of the water used to grow cannabis plants Read the report: Day 2—Salmon and cannabis: a fish tale in the heart of B.C.

  • Sept. 27 Kelowna, British Columbia Valens GroWorks in the morning, one of Canada’s largest cannabis processors. Flowr in the afternoon, a cultivator claiming to have struck the perfect balance between efficiency and scale by keeping much of their supply chain contained within its Kelowna campus.

  • Sept. 29 Lethbridge, Alberta Dr. Igor Kovalchuk, co-founder of InPlanta Biotechnologies, Canada’s first licenced cannabis nursery

  • Oct. 1 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Mike Vioncek, chief operating officer of Fire & Flower, touring the company’s Saskatchewan wholesale operations, one of the very few privately held legal cannabis wholesalers in the country

  • Oct. 3 Winnipeg, Manitoba Curtis Ling, regional manager of Pineapple Express, same-day cannabis delivery service operating in one of the few jurisdictions allowing such businesses to exist (RIDE-ALONG) and (PENDING) meeting with Chief Christian Sinclair of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation

  • Oct. 5 Thunder Bay, Ontario Rejeanne Runciman, Owner of Trixx Cannabis in the morning and a representative of the Thunder Bay Police Service in the afternoon

  • Oct. 6 Hearst, Ontario Joel Lacelle, owner of micro-cultivator Hearst Organics

  • Oct. 8 Ottawa, Ontario Mark Spear of the Wildfire Collective in Calabogie

  • Oct. 9, 10 Montreal, Quebec HEXO in Gatineau in the morning and C3 – a cannabis R&D hub working with McGill outside of the Montreal area – in the afternoon of the 9th and on the 10th, Neptune Wellness

  • Oct. 12 Moncton, New Brunswick Jeff Purcell, SVP operational services for major cultivator Organigram, offering a tour of the company’s main campus

  • Oct. 14 Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island Dosecann, part of the Auxly Cannabis Group and one of Canada’s largest cannabis extraction facilities, has graciously agreed to offer a tour of its Prince Edward Island facility on the holiday Monday

  • Oct. 15 Halifax, Nova Scotia Nova Scotia Liquor Commission, the only retailer in Canada authorized to sell both alcohol and cannabis, will showcase its unique position

  • Oct. 16, 17 St. John’s, Newfoundland Thomas Clarke, a private cannabis retailer who says he can barely afford to stay open

Cannabis Professional goes cross-country to find where Canadian cannabis is headed.


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