By Roland Sebestyén
Despite Canada’s early success following cannabis legalisation, the “green rush” is reportedly yet to reward the businesses and investors on the legal market. However, “the industry is moving in the right direction.”
According to Financial Times, businesses are struggling due to the lack of stores in bigger cities and busier areas of the country. Reportedly, Canopy, one of the largest businesses on the market with more than 1,300 employees, had to lay off some of their staff recently.
Although recreational use has been legal since 2018 in the country, the paper says the “green rush” has failed to live up to its hype, and some 1,000 tonnes of Canada sit unsold in warehouses.
Also, when Brian Sekandi, the Co-Founder of Careers Cannabis, spoke to Canex a few weeks ago, he said the industry had another issue, which may setback any sort of growth.
He said: “Canada is one of the first developed nations to have a fully legal system. The Canadian marketplace is just an explosion of entrepreneurship and opportunities, in terms of job growth.
“But we are also seeing a very closed industry. People in the cannabis industry tend to come from more regulated spaces – alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceutical.
“It has kind of created an environment where we are isolated and not as inclusive as it could be.
“There has been a lot of talk in the US and Canada about how the cannabis industry from an employment standpoint isn’t that diverse.”
However, others, such as investors and business owners, in the industry are optimistic about the future.
FT reports that in the past, a licencing lottery has seen large cities miss out on the prospect of opening cannabis stores while one little town, they say, saw three cannabis dispensaries opened in the same street.
It took a while, but when lawmakers realised that the lottery system was a massive issue, and businesses were struggling, the policy has changed.
The result is telling: the paper says at least 50 cannabis stores are opening in Ontario every month, and experts believe the legal cannabis market will grow significantly over the next few years.
According to one estimate, the market is now worth around C$2.6bn ($2.1bn) but it could reach the C$8bn-C$10bn level soon.