Beating The Black Market

business

Earlier this week, MP and pot czar, Bill Blair announced that the national consensus in Canada is that the price, quality, and accessibility of legal marijuana should be competitive to that on the black market. Blair is on a national tour speaking with politicians and other stakeholders regarding a fast-approaching legalization deadline. The federal government still intends to legalize marijuana by July 2018, which will allow adults to possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, and grow up to four cannabis plants in their homes.

Public consultations are ongoing, but Blair does make a few promises, such as a reduction in marijuana-related arrests and criminal court cases. Provinces, however, should be willing to invest in infrastructure and administration, legislation, technology, tools, resources, and training. Distribution and sales will be left up to the provinces, but pricing and marketing (two elements that promise to make the biggest dent in the black market) have yet to be decided.

Of course, it is important for brands to differentiate and legitimize themselves. But too much marketing can be viewed (at least through the lens of Bill C-45) as something that would make cannabis too appealing to the underage population. Protecting children from drugs was one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s preliminary concerns, and something that Blair says consistently comes up in his conversations. Regulated marketing was one of the 80 recommendations put forward by the Liberal task force late last year. While there is room in the legislation for some level of branding, it will be quite restricted and limited.

In an op-ed to the National Post, Emblem Corp. CEO, Gordon Fox, laid out one more suggestion beyond pricing and branding that could help elbow out black market cannabis: home delivery!

Provinces are in a crunch to put together their legal framework by July 2018. However, if they can’t make that date, the federal government plans to make marijuana available to all adult Canadians through the regulated mail service and licensed producers. This is the same system medical patients use to purchase cannabis, but the number of licensed producers is multiplying to meet the expected demand.

August 31, 2017

by Alana Armstrong

Profile photo of Alana Armstrong
Alana seeks to see cannabis from the perspective of politicians, advocates, entrepreneurs, and consumers. She got her start with a byline in the arts and culture section and crossed over into cannabis after using it medicinally. Current projects include investigations into cannabis and wellness; entrepreneurs of the Green Rush; cannabis for athletes; and the evolution of cannabis laws and culture in Canada.

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