Can Canada maintain its first-mover advantage in cannabis?
No one really can answer that question right now, but if the first Cannabis Professional industry round table on April 26 is any indication, there are no shortage of good ideas that can keep the country in the global lead.
About 15 subscribers – representing a diverse cross-section of companies that included licensed producers, food makers, agencies and capital markets – joined the Cannabis Pro team on April 26 at The Globe and Mail’s head office in Toronto for a deep discussion about the state of cannabis industry in Canada.
Beyond the headline topic, the discussion veered into the supply problem, the illicit market, the global legislative situation, and the stigma that still exists for some working in the cannabis industry.
One theme that most participants agreed on was the strict regulations that are currently guiding the nascent industry in Canada.
That is viewed as probably the biggest challenge that Canadian companies face as they strive to become global leaders.
From Nick Pateras, vice-president of strategy at Lift & Co.:
"If you want to compete globally, you have to have more business friendly regulations. We just don’t right now. It makes sense – we’re the first country to do it, we’re the most cautious, we’ve already been vilified by the UN, vilified by the [International Narcotics Control Board], so the next country that comes by us, whether it’s Mexico or whomever, can got that little bit further forward, and set up an infrastructure that’s more commercially friendly.
If we want to succeed globally we have do that work, because it’s a rounding error otherwise. It was George Allen, the ex-president of Acreage, he did this guest post on [New Cannabis Ventures] in January, and he said Canada is going to be a footnote in the history of this industry. And we will, unless we actually work. The lead is shrinking is fast.”
So, what needs to happen? “Allow us to export brands, IP, SOPs,” Mr. Pateras added.
Morgan Cates, director of communications at CannTrust, says the successful export of intellectual property is going to be a key export of Canada’s LPs.
"We’re never going to be able to grow any product at a comparable price to most markets in the world, but we’re going to have the expertise in growing. I have to use CannTrust as and example, obviously. But we have Australians coming to CannTrust, to our facility in Niagara this summer, learning how to grow cannabis... I think we’re going to see more of those partnerships as the Canadian market begins to be more developed.”
Cannabis Professional would like to thank all of our guests for a very informative session.
To attend a future round table, please contact ROBCannabisPro@globeandmail.com.