With the new legal cannabis industry still in its infancy, how do you foresee the landscape evolving by year 5 of legalization? Year 10?
We’re a little over three years into legalization (although it feels like 30!) and I’m amazed at the progress that we’ve made. The rush to Oct 17th felt a lot like building the plane while we’re flying it – teams of people collaborating on what they *think* is the best approach, without a lot of clarity on the guardrails we were operating within.
The key area I see evolving in the short and long term is consumer adoption via product innovation and education. The speed at which the average non-consumer or intender has shifted into a cannabis purchaser has been much quicker than I imagined. I was afraid to tell my mother-in-law that I was entering the industry pre-legalization, and now she is calling me and asking for recommendations on what products she should buy when she visits her local retailer.
We’ve also seen a shift in how women interact with cannabis, not only through increased consumption but also purchasing habits, with a lift in both areas.
The addition of new and unique formats and innovative products has been paramount to this shift, and providing more accessible education through more informed and trained budtenders will be the key to continuing this trend over the next 5-10 years.
What is the greatest barrier cannabis legalization still faces in its fight against the legacy market?
Truthfully, I don’t consider the legacy market to be the threat that it once was, especially with the rapid growth and accessibility of the legal market in Ontario. The bigger challenge, as I see it, is the high concentration of legal retailers in the same areas, along with marketing and communication limitations.
As the market continues to correct itself, with mergers, acquisitions and (unfortunately) bankruptcies, I hope that we see more BIPOC and woman-owned players entering the space, bringing diverse voices and inclusive spaces for cannabis and consumers.
How has cannabis influenced your life?
Cannabis has played a huge role in my life, both personally and professionally. The last four years working in the industry have allowed me to grow at an exponential rate, but have also made it more difficult for me to wind down – so weed has become my go-to method of turning off my brain and relaxing at the end of a long day.
I have humbly taken on the role of influencer amongst close friends and family; it’s fun recommending products to them, as well as being the go-to purveyor of ‘herb’ to my 72-year-old hippie Dad .
What are you using right now?
I am ALL IN on cannabis beverages – they are absolutely my format of choice. My current favourite for basically any occasion is OG Cola by Sweet Justice – the 3.5mg dosage is perfect for hanging out with friends. When I’m looking to unwind at home after a busy day, I’ll go with a stronger drink – XMG 10mg (any flavour) always do the trick!