Jay Currie, the author of Start & Run a Marijuana Dispensary or Pot Shop, comments on the Task Force’s Report on Legalization of Marijuana:
The McLellan Task Force on Legalization of Marijuana Report has a number of elements which are encouraging to Canadian marijuana entrepreneurs.
The most important recommendation is that the retail distribution of marijuana be regulated by the provinces in conjunction with municipalities. While the report recommends Federal supervision of marijuana growing, it recommends that the wholesale and retail distribution of recreational marijuana be left to the provinces.
Locally regulated distribution leaves the door open for the Vancouver model of “bottom up” dispensaries where a province choses to go in that direction.
The report is adamant that no general advertising or branding be allowed where children might see it although the report does see a role for point of sale advertising in stores where minors have no access.
From a business risk perspective, the Task Force report leaves the door open to entrepreneurs depending on the eventual rules in their province. The Task Force contemplates a marijuana “storefront” system and that is the opening marijuana entrepreneurs have been waiting for.
Politically, the Task Force has left the Liberal Government with much the same set of problems its legalization program had eight months ago. It suggests that new, comprehensive, cannabis legislation be put into place but does not really come to grips with the grey market for pot. Nor does it do much to address the looming shortage of “legal” pot for the recreational market. It suggests granting more producers’ licences but also suggests that those licencees have substantially the same security and testing requirements as the current Health Canada corporate medical marijuana licences.
One thing which is clear from the Report is that it will be sometime before the legislation legalizing marijuana is ready to go and, likely, sometime after that before the provinces and municipalities will come up with distribution regulations governing the operation of retail dispensaries assuming that the Liberal Government adopts the Task Force recommendation. Meanwhile, the official federal position is that the grey market is illegal and that storefronts should be prosecuted. That reality needs to be front and center in any business risk calculation for a pot entrepreneur.
All of that said, the Task Force report has left the door open for marijuana entrepreneurs to research and plan their entry into their province’s market. The Task Force has avoided the temptation to recommend a strictly centralized, top down, distribution model. If the Liberal government and the provinces accept a localized, decentralized, distribution marketplace for marijuana, there will be significant opportunities for small and medium sized businesses to serve the recreational pot market.
Jay Currie is a journalist and business consultant who has provided advice to a number of marijuana companies. His new book, Start & Run a Marijuana Dispensary or Pot Shop, is available on our website, Amazon, Chapters Indigo, Barnes & Noble, and in better bookstores across the US and Canada.
If you’re interested in booking an interview with Jay Currie please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.