As Canada moves to introduce legal cannabis into the market, business owners are preparing themselves for what the future will hold. Matt Gray is a Toronto–based, cannabis industry leader, and founder of the online platform, Herb.
Herb is designed to connect 14 million people in the cannabis community with guided info into all that cannabis has to offer.
Legal cannabis will offer a “happier, healthier and more elevated lifestyle [for responsible adults],” says Gray.
The company is also working towards crushing anti-cannabis stigmas on a government level.
From cookbooks to up-to-date articles, podcasts and videos, Herb is an easy to navigate tool for cannabis lovers. It has also served as an education platform for millions of people, and is a center for active political and social change.
Weigh-In on Legal Cannabis
During a recent interview with Gray, he offered foresight on what the future of legal cannabis will look like for Canadians, over the next few years.
Gray emphasized the importance of proper education on the full effects of cannabis. The more mainstream we make it, the more stigmas are diminished. As we normalize the drug within society, people talk about it more, and further jobs will open up.
“Eventually, cannabis as a medicine, should be partnered up with pharmaceuticals,” says Gray.
A key incentive for the legal cannabis market vs. the black market, according to Gray, is to offer Canadians “convenience, accessibility and quality.“
From a legal framework, Gray states the importance of the government to be comfortable with legal cannabis during this transition. Emphasis is on Canadians to be happy and healthy.
For comparison, in the United States, stigma around cannabis has dissipated in states where it was legalized, compared to those states where it’s still illegal.
Cannabis vs. Opioids
According to this recent report by CNN, medical marijuana is now being used to help overcome opoid addiction. This a large shift from the typical misperception of cannabis as a gateway drug into the use of other drugs.
Gray backed up CNN‘s statement, as he shared that the use of medicinal pot has been proven to decrease peoples reliance on opioids.
He stated that “prescriptions through the opioid market had decreased by 5%, [in states where cannabis was legalized.]“
According to CNN, people have been able to overcome deadly opioid addictions with the use of medicinal marijuana. Cannabis used responsibly has proven to enrich lives. Opioids on the other hand, typically decrease the quality of life for users.
“115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, more than car accidents, breast cancer or guns,” says CNN.
Here’s the Plan
Gray states that the plan for Ontario is for 30 cannabis retail stores to open up within the next year. The province should also be opening roughly 150 cannabis stores by 2020. Gray’s insight lays out a solid plan for the cannabis industry. His vision is full of ambition, and is a firm foundation for a lucrative health and wellness industry.
“The goal is to meet the needs of 360,000 Canadians by 2020,” says Gray.
However, the black market won’t disappear overnight. Gray explains that many people may still rely on the black market out of convenience, as the legal market gradually takes over.
According to Gray, the “U.S generates 80-100 billion dollars through the black market annually.”
The forecast is for the legal cannabis market in Canada to generate $23 billion by 2020, which is less than two years away.
Much of the push that the cannabis industry is facing relies on proper education. This transparency will allow Canadians to use cannabis as a health product, as opposed to abusing Mother Nature’s herb.
As we move forward into 2019, it is vital for the public to question the government’s decision making, and for the government to seek insight and feedback from users and key industry leaders.