News coverage about marijuana investing in Canada sometimes suggests the industry is nearing a plateau, and that it already is mature.
Don’t believe it.
Entrepreneurs and investors have been participating in the cannabis industry for a few years in Canada and the United States, but it remains a fledgling industry. We all remain on the ground floor, which can be a good place for investors. Especially if you are investing in marijuana in Canada.
As Canada marches towards full recreational legalization in 2018, the country stands apart for investors. By this time next year, Canada should be the only Western country in the world with recreational legalization in place in all directions, although provinces will likely enact regulations that differ from one another.
Investors eyeing cannabis have much to consider, including cannabis ancillary businesses (like software and technology companies, packaging manufacturers and ingredient suppliers) and brands producing cannabis products. All of the above are worthy of close scrutiny. But don’t forget about grows. Canadian growers are poised to harvest millions of pounds to meet consumer demand, and as the plant becomes more normalized in society what already amounts to strong demand is expected to climb even higher. Growers supply the backbone of the entire industry, which potentially includes edibles and concentrates. As product offerings expand into areas beyond eighth-ounces of flower, demands on growers will mount. This is good news for those who invest in grows.
The cannabis industry in the United States has witnessed extraordinary success stories, as well as flame-outs. With most of the failures, the problems weren’t with the commercial idea or even the products themselves. Instead, industry flops tend to stem from the top — that is, poor management. When considering cannabis investments, closely study the management team. Get a sense about their track records, presumably within other industries. Query industry stakeholders about their reputations. The best ideas in the world will never triumph in the competitive marketplace with weak management teams at the helm.
The next year presents once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to collaborate with Canadian governments to help build a regulatory framework for what is the fastest-growing industry in Canada, as well as North America. Imagine being a brewer on the ground floor — yep, we still are there with cannabis — when the Canadian government and provinces first hammered-out regulations for the alcohol industry. It is an enviable position for businesses in any industry. So far, Ottawa and the provinces have made a number of wise choices regarding cannabis. But the year ahead presents plenty of fresh opportunities for those of us in the industry to help inform authorities about the details of our budding industry. Roadblocks that could stop growth? Regulatory ideas that could help nurture strong growth, while protecting Canadian kids and communities? It all will be on the table in coming months. Participation among marijuana industry stakeholders is highly encouraged.