It was only year ago that Canada became the second country in the world to legalise the recreational use of cannabis. Previously the drug operated on the black market, vilified by law enforcement and policymakers as a gateway to the criminal world. This has now changed of corse and Cannabis has shed its bad guy image and been embraced by those who previously would have seen it as damaging to be associated with.
Why the sudden change?? Money of course and BIG money at that. Now Cannabis is regarded as an agricultural product with both medical and recreational potential there has been a spike in interest from investors, entrepreneurs and companies from all manner of sectors. A growing number of countries have legalised cannabis for medical use or decriminalised it altogether, a move that has seen billions of dollars in investment being poured into this once illicit drug.
Whilst some rejoice in the era of legality, there are many growers and life long advocates who are angry at the sudden interference of those who now want to make big bucks! Those who, with their inferior quality, overpriced weed, have the financial means to drive out the community that has built the industry to where it is today by cultivating quality strains and changing stereotypes through education and awareness.
For all the hype about legalisation in Canada, the first year has seen 3 major problems, much to the delight of many who oppose it. 1.supply issues 2.Inferior product 3. Over-pricing.
The delayed rollout of retail locations made finding a dispensary no easy feat. Take Ontario for example, where only 24 pot stores have opened thanks to a tangle of legal battle and the provincial government’s insistence that there wasn’t enough supply of cannabis to meet demand.
Those opposed to legal market however see a different problem. There’s just not enough legal cannabis that people actually want. High THC strains are what people want, but the bulk of legal cannabis contains much lower levels. Not only this but the average price of cannabis per gram in Canada’s legal market is $10.23, compared to an average of $5.59 on the black market. It’s no wonder therefore that many feel that legal weed is below par and just a blatant attempt to rip them off to the benefit of billion dollar companies who are only after our money.
It’s of no surprise therefore that many seasoned consumers are voting with their feet and have pledged to shun all legal cannabis and vow not to buy it. Many experienced users have their suppliers already and are not going to change allegiance when black market prices are 30 to 35% lower and the quality is better. The black market therefore continues to flourish in both Canada and the USA, presenting a defiant two fingered salute to legalisation, as a whole movement of growers and smokers across the generations vow to keep true and faithful to their roots!
The legal industry has felt the effects of this backlash to a certain extent, as in June this year the CEO, chairman and Co-founder of one of the biggest legal Cannabis operations in Canada, ‘Canopy Growth’ was ousted from his job after executives at major shareholder, Constellation Brands Inc., became frustrated with the lack of profitability. Canopy was not the only cannabis company to reveal losses in the first year of legalisation either with dozens of publicly listed cannabis producers reporting disappointing earnings, in direct contrast to the high expectations made just a year earlier.
The future seems somewhat uncertain, there is no doubt that It’s been a rough year for investors in the legal cannabis market as the sector continues to get pummelled by setbacks, regulatory uncertainty and resistance from the old school consumers and growers. Higher-margin products such as cannabis-infused edibles and topicals will soon hit the market however, offering consumers more choice and offering a potential revenue boost to the legal market. One thing is certain though and that is that, many users and growers will never accept this corporate interference and with good reason. I think that this quote sums things up perfectly and that most of us reading this would totally relate to it.
“The current Canadian cannabis industry is polluted with people who wouldn’t raise a finger to help cannabis when it was 100% illegal. Some were actually part of the problem. I didn’t respect them then, and I sure as hell don’t respect them now.” @Breedersteve ,Twitter ,18/09/19
The legal market today is built on the shoulders of what the black market has been pushing for over a generation. The corporations may have the big bucks, but they don’t have the soul…and they never will.