The Canadian Chamber of Commerce (via its National Cannabis Working Group) has called on all federal political parties “to embrace the once-in-a-lifetime economic opportunity Canada has as the first developed country to legalize recreational cannabis.”
Canada is heading into an election and the CCC is asking all the political parties that might form the next government to seize this opportunity. The Chamber of Commerce published its own press release on this subject.
“Rarely, if ever, do countries get a head start on new industry like this,” said Nathan Mison, Vice President of Government and Stakeholder Relations for Fire & Flower [CAN:FAF] and Co-Chair of the Working Group. “If we don’t want to squander our first-mover advantage in what is going to be a massive global industry, all of our governments must work with us to improve well-intentioned but uneven policies that are impeding new job growth and investment. And we need to move quickly.” [emphasis mine]
The release also included a number of key policy recommendations:
- Create a “regulatory environment” that reduces the costs and complexity of operating a cannabis business in Canada
- Eliminate taxes on medicinal cannabis (providing the same tax treatment as other pharmaceuticals)
- Ease restrictions on marketing and branding, to help attract consumers away from the cannabis black market
- Eliminate interprovincial trade barriers and harmonize regulations between provinces
- Position Canada as a cannabis export leader in terms of products, services and expertise
This is badly needed guidance for Canada’s government – at both the federal and provincial levels. The Seed Investor has been documenting some of the failures of both levels of government.
At the federal level, cannabis-phobic regulations are severely limiting the capacity of cannabis companies to commercialize this safe, benign substance.
At the provincial level, several of Canada’s provinces (notably Ontario) have been undermining the legal cannabis industry through over-regulation and/or over-taxation and/or the delayed licensing of cannabis retail stores.
As this has been taking place, there has been a deafening silence from Canada’s corporate community. Had this been any other industry, there would have been howls of public protest from industry trade groups – such as the Chamber of Commerce.
Because of the stigmatization of cannabis, the product of decades of anti-cannabis propaganda, the corporate community itself has failed to embrace the legal cannabis industry. This is because (like the politicians) they have failed to do their homework on cannabis – and separate cannabis fact from fiction.
Promote legal cannabis as an alternative to toxic, addictive and deadly tobacco products, and toxic, addictive and deadly alcohol products. This would save governments across North America billions of dollars in healthcare savings alone.
Cannabis is non-toxic, non-addictive and cannabinoids (the active ingredients in the cannabis plant) are produced naturally within the human body. They promote health.
Why restrict advertising of cannabis products? Government ignorance.
Why restrict the marketing/branding of cannabis products? Government ignorance.
Why strictly regulate the operations of cannabis companies? Government ignorance.
These companies aren’t selling something that’s really dangerous like plutonium or nicotine (one of the deadliest poisons known to humanity). They are selling a mild recreational drug that is so benign it is also used as medicine – for hundreds of different medical conditions. Safe medicine.
Hopefully this environment for the legal cannabis industry is now changing.
Corporate Canada has finally found its voice. It is calling on the Canadian government (whichever party forms the next government) to not only support the legal cannabis industry but to actually promote it globally.
This corporate support will be welcomed enthusiastically by the cannabis industry. And it should also help to further legitimize cannabis as a consumer product in the eyes of many Canadians.