On October 17th, Canada will become the second country on the globe to legalize recreational use of cannabis. In the leadup to this momentous step forward, brands and businesses are taking steps to ensure they are part of the movement. Culturally, the legalization will have effects on perceptions of marijuana and related products – something that has been a concern for parents and policy planners alike. Preparing for the changes means making practical decisions that will protect users and non-users, while allowing all to make responsible decisions on their own accord. Since the legislation was confirmed in June, there have been several major developments that we can all learn from. Here are a few of the key developments that are affecting the cannabis industry in Canada and its adoption later this year.
Education on the Cannabis Industry at Schools Across Canada
Whether you are on the West Coast or East, schools are bringing students first-class training on the industry that is soon to be burgeoning. Two of Canada’s top universities are among the early adopters of such programs – McGill University and the University of Toronto. McGill has already been offering workshops on the horticulture of cannabis (growing, harvesting) since May of this year, and is now planning an expansion of the program to a full Bachelor’s degree.
“We, as a faculty of agriculture, said, ‘Well, somebody has to train the people, certainly, for the high-quality jobs and if it’s not us, it’s going to be less qualified people’.”
- Anja Geitmann, Dean of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences, McGill University (via Global News)
Here in BC, a number of colleges are beginning to offer degrees on cannabis production and business including Okanagan College and Kwantlen Polytechnic. Having trained professionals means more than just a larger workforce for businesses in Canada, it also means the adoption of the science behind marijuana, its uses and production. Having educated individuals in the area will be a boon for the growth of the industry as a whole.
Investment in Canada’s Cannabis Sector
Though stocks stagnated for a period while legislation was being discussed in Parliament, we are now seeing large investors step forward to support Canadian producers. Recently, Constellation Brands invested 5 billion (that’s billion with a B) into Canopy Growth Corp., currently Canada’s highest valued producer of cannabis. What’s more is that they are not alone. Molson Coors has partnered with Quebec producer Hydropothecary Corp., and several other big names have been meeting with industry executives in Canada to discuss potential investment deals, such as Heineken, Coca Cola, and Anheuser-Busch.
Technology has been at the forefront of Canopy Growth’s development. They are constantly refining their process with data that has only been made available recently. As a controlled substance, cannabis long required an exemption for scientists and researchers to use the plant for research purposes, but all that is changing, and fast.
“Can we do it so that one is carbonated and looks and feels like a beer? Can we do one that can compete with traditional wine categories?”
- Jordan Sinclair, Communications Director, Canopy Growth (via Financial Post)
Protecting Canadians with Cannabis Detecting Technology
Part of planning for the legalization of a psychoactive compound means preparing for the effect it will have on the safety of Canadians behind the wheel. The federal government has pledged $161 million dollars to fund police departments with training and drug-testing equipment over the next five years. Public service announcements will be broadcast as well to keep Canadians aware of the risks of consumption and driving.
A drug testing machine has been given the go ahead for roadside testing too. Known as the “Drager DrugTest 5000”, a name pulled straight from the 90s, law enforcement will now have a tool to analyze the impairment of marijuana products in city streets. This has come under considerable scrutiny due to false-positive results and challenges with cold weather, but it shows that the federal government is serious about finding a reliable method for testing the impairment of drivers in Canada.
The buzz around cannabis has caused a lot of commotion across Canada, making it clear how much of an impact this will have on Canada’s economy. We will continue to be watching and updating you on the latest developments in the industry, so follow us on social media to keep up to date on it all!