Canada was the first of the G20 countries to fully legalize cannabis in the summer of 2018. Since then, Canada has embraced the cannabis market and in fact they have realized that Cannabis is going to be a part of their community. They have really accepted cannabis, and realized that it has not changed much as far as people buying it, using it etc. Join Harry and Paul as they chat about Cannabis in Canada and the trends that are likely to hit the US.
Harry Brelsford & Paul Seaborn
Hey 420 MSP, back with the professor Paul Seaborn. Hey, Paul, how you doing? Great, Harry, how are you? Good, good. Man. I sure enjoyed tracking the the work you do. And you’ve done it for a number of years. Thank you for keeping that up. This round, I want to talk about two things. One is post elections. So you have some insights on post election. And then also you had a six week return visit to your home country of Canada. And you have a couple of observations as they clearly lead the way in the cannabis segment. So post election go, Paul. Yeah,
I think post election, what you and I talked about in the fall wasn’t too far off. You know, marijuana was pretty decisive. Victor in most states and most ballot initiatives. And I think there’s no indication that’s going to change anytime soon. Right? It seems like the majority of demographic groups, whether it’s by political party age, rural or urban, you know, more and more than majority is with cannabis, you either have to craft a really restrictive offensive ballot initiative, or, you know, it takes a lot of money and effort on the other side to not have those things succeed. I think two things that we’ve seen since the election are worth noting, one is there’s a still a lot of steps that have to happen from voters, voicing their opinion to an industry popping up with real stores that need you know, it equipment and security software and everything else. And so Dakota is showing us one of those hurdles is you actually have to get the initiative put into law and right now you’re seeing the court step in and deem something as unconstitutional. That may well be the case, maybe it was too broad reaching in what they put in the voucher. But, you know, it’s really hard to pinpoint these timelines, because that can go wrong. You know, you said a really relaxed implementation timeframe. And you know, what you voted on in 2020, is implemented in 2022. So I think just a sign of the ballot being the first of many steps. So that was the first thing I want to mention. The other one, I’m really seeing this firsthand here in Virginia, and I don’t know how many of your your audience are in our area. But we’re seeing a different approach here where the legislature itself is moving very quickly towards legalization in Virginia. So they had to report to the legislature in November, in this short session right now, they’ve already passed through the House and Senate, they just need to reconcile this bill and they could potentially be in a legal position by July or, or around that time. So yeah, that’s, that’s pretty phenomenal. And I think what really struck me is how much more nuanced the debate is here, people are bringing up issues around, is it going to be too consolidated? You know, not enough players, social equity is very friend center in Virginia, like I’ve never seen anywhere else. I think that’s a really positive thing overall. But it makes for a very complicated debate, because people have very high goals for what they want this legislation to accomplish.
Yeah, question for yet. So. So what what I’m hearing you say is, you know, I know from the state of Washington and the work I’ve done over the years that the the voters made the decision, what I’m hearing you say, is that shifting over to the legislative body, and it’ll get any final thoughts on that, and then we’ll talk Canada or South Dakota, and then Canada.
I probably said never said Dakota for one day. But we I think when you have the legislature, right, I think you should expect that to be a venue of compromise. So you have to kind of put something forward, even if you have a majority in that body that that meets a smell test for the opposition, that’s not going to you know, cause you to have a target on your back. So it lends itself to more of a dialogue and compromise and about initiative does. But it also it can kind of collapse under its own weight. I think New Jersey has been the example where so many voices, so many goals, so much to do. And we kind of we can’t get it done in a session, we delay some Virginia is looking like they’re a little more focused. And they may get to, to the end sooner. And I would keep an eye on that. Because you know, it could be a year or two. And there’s something actually happening maybe ahead of some of these states that voted last. Yeah. So let me shift gears to Canada for a second. So yeah, I was I was very fortunate, for personal reasons to need to and be able to go back and actually spending time in Newfoundland, which is my home province, as far east as you can go halfway to Europe. And I would just offer two observations that would be kind of different than what you might see for an audience member who’s in the States. One is the real debate over whether this should be legalized or not, it’s over. I mean, I talked to all sorts of people, you know, high school classmates, grandparents, you know, everyone in between, it was decided it was implemented a year and a half ago, we didn’t have ballot initiatives. All the controversy was national. It’s done people don’t know it’s gonna be part of their their community and you know, that debate is just not there. The store is there. You drive by it on your way to get groceries or on your way to church. It’s just kind of their over it. And so that’s an interesting thing to see it reach that level of acceptance. Yeah, at the same time, so, so little of the population going there, right? There’s actually not that higher number of people consuming, it didn’t lead to any sort of mass increase. And I think it’s gonna take time, right? People are happy to accept it in their community, but then, you know, they, they maybe don’t rush it the next next week themselves, or they’re holding back to see what other people are doing. And so it’s actually very unexcited. From a growth point of view, people actually surprise and underwhelming their projections on sales, because it’s here, we stopped that debate, but we are now at the next step is Will people substitute a cannabis purchase for what they used to buy at the liquor store where they invite friends over for a social event. And you know, because of the long history and it was illegal for so long, it just, it just takes time. So but I had to see that in person and to go back, and I hadn’t been there for a few years was kind of really did come to life. And I think that it’s pretty representative of what’s happening across the country in Canada.
Yeah, I would concur on a couple of fronts. So the attitude no preferences have shifted to favorable, clearly in the you know, I’m about four years and my role in can attack. And it’s clearly shifted in that four years. Even even with our messaging, we, we were a little bit you know, like this a couple years ago with some of the work I was doing, and now we’re like this. And then on the substitution thing, you know, it’s interesting, you bring that up, I got it, I can’t find the link. I’ve been meaning to send it to two or three people. But there was a really good article recently, I think, is MJ biz that talked about people are substituting cannabis for alcohol in it. It wasn’t so much a shopping basket, you know, they take one thing out, put one thing in, it had to do more with health, it had to do with alcohol consumption in the article spoke up to that, that, you know, people maybe who want to cut back contrary to their stop drinking, can substitute cannabis that, you know, they they laid out the reasoning for it. I don’t know how many people are really doing that. But I suspect it’s fairly high. And then the other thing was the health effect effect. I just had my annual checkup yesterday with the doc. And what better than I thought to be honest, the way I live. But the we talked about alcohol, of course is not good for your body. It’s some level right? I mean, it’s a toxin in your liver, when it’s processed. And cannabis doesn’t seem to have the same markers. You know what I mean? I think a cannabis more like the green grass in my yard.
It is grass.
Any thoughts on that?
Yeah. And I think you actually did a better job than me and pointed the nuance, right. So yeah, it’s not just a question of do I pick alcohol or cannabis in a particular situation, because there are situations where I would never choose alcohol because I’m having a health issue, but I might choose cannabis, and vice versa. But yeah, I think cannabis overlaps with alcohol use, it overlaps with prescription drugs, it overlaps with over the counter drugs overlaps with other foods that I consume, just for various reasons, even overlaps with, you know, other things I could do like getting a massage or you know, going to a yoga class. And so that’s one of the things that makes this industry really interesting is it does have multiple use cases that may or may not overlap, I guess the last thought I had, you know, I think with this industry all the time, like you do, and I watched the Super Bowl on Sunday, and we had our you know, probably a little less alcohol advertising than some years I think they pull back but you still had the kind of the glorification of having a you know, a little get together over a drink and kind of the alcohol being central to to, you know, community and kind of like when we have a good time and you think you need to play the play the futuristic game of thinking like at what point will we have that commercial on the Super Bowl where people are getting together and sharing edibles or flower? Yeah, it’s probably it might be a decade away with the way the things change. But I think someday and you know, maybe we’ll look back and say like, what were we doing with it? But their attitudes towards these substances in the past? That’s my thoughts.
Yeah, no, I like it. And I tell ya, and we’ll end it here is that when that commercial runs, I can assure you it’s gonna be like, is memorable is the Macintosh commercial in 1984. Where they had the big, big brother scene and the lady throws the the thing and breaks the glass, right? It, it could very well be the one right? You would I might be saying remember that commercial.
All right. Hey, we’ll talk to you next quarter. Thanks, Paul. Keep it safe.