The long wait will soon be over, Canada is looking to officially make marijuana legal across the nation this summer. For those of you who have been following the media coverage surrounding the current landscape of this process, this isn’t news, and now it’s only a matter of counting down the days. Cannabis consumers are eagerly awaiting to finally partake in recreational marijuana LEGALLY, and producers are preparing themselves to capitalize on this great market opportunity.
Talks of legalization have been rampant in Canada since the liberal government took control. It’s no secret that the consumption of cannabis, in whichever form, has been taking place for many years all across the globe. Government regulation of it however, has not. The purchase and sale of weed takes place regardless of any legal intervention, but it seems North America is finally moving towards accepting and approving of a regulated process.
Amsterdam’s Coffeeshops are notorious for allowing customers to purchase what they consider ‘soft drugs’, marijuana being a key point of sale. Restrictions on the sale of both ‘hard drugs‘ (cocaine, LSD, morphine, heroin, etc.) and soft drugs outside of Coffeeshops, are implemented by authorities where they try to maintain certain mandates surrounding purchasing and sales. For years this has been a common practice in the city and many would argue that the stigma surrounding the usage of weed has greatly diminished due to the lack of restriction.
Currently in America, nine states and Washington, DC have legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, and a total of 29 states allow marijuana for medicinal purposes. Despite the initial reluctance, a recent poll from Gallop showcases a significant increase in support of legalization. From 1969 to 2017, we went from 16% in favour to now 64% of the American population. As public opinion continues to support rather than criminalize the use of recreational cannabis, it’s no surprise that more states, and even countries are leaning towards allowing some form of regulation.
But why the initial hesitation? Well many citizens worry that with the authorization of recreational use, there will be the potential for it be misused and result in more people wanting to partake. With the new market available, the potential for new companies and entrepreneurs to capitalize on the opportunity to push their product is high. Aggressive selling and campaigning ‘pro-pot’ stands to increase the awareness and draw towards utilizing weed for non-medicinal purposes.
However, we also know that the prohibition of weed also hasn’t caused a decrease in it’s use. Implementing some form of regulation allows for better quality and safer cannabis consumption, and creates a market where profit potential can impact both public and private sectors.
As Canada moves towards making the big announcement, on July 1st 2018, companies are readying themselves for the onrush that will follow.
HYPR Magazine’s Conrad Yeung had the chance to interview Sonny Mottahed, President and CEO of MacaVerde. A company owned by Target Capital Inc., MacaVerde is an accelerator program for early-stage cannabis startups.
As the deadline of March 31st approaches for applicants to apply into the program, we wanted to gain a better understanding of what MacaVerde is looking for, and what the opportunity for success currently looks like in the pot market.
After witnessing what legalization of weed looked like in America, Mottahed spoke about the force that comes behind strong brands. Not unlike any other consumer product, people have certain loyalties to the brands that they like and want to purchase from. Upon set up in Canada, these companies will have the potential for international outreach and the underlying quality of the brand is key.
When asked about what qualities they will be looking for in order to pick from all the potential candidates, Mottahed emphasized three main factors: their understanding of the current market, the basic skill set they will be bringing forth and whether or not they possess the type of X factor needed to succeed.
Aside from basic forms of recreational usage, Mottahed shared that consumers may also choose to partake in the consumption of weed as a sleep aid, for bettering concentration, increasing creativity, meditative purposes or even to improve ones sex life.
Once you know what your consumers are after, you can cater your product to their needs and MacaVerde is looking for incumbents who understand that.
With the market potential ripe for the picking, now is the time for aspiring entrepreneurs to gather their wits about them and implement a solid plan of attack. The summer of 2018 is fast approaching and companies like MacaVerde are laying the groundwork for startups to succeed.
If chosen for their accelerator program, startups will get access to certain infrastructure, legal, commercial, strategic, marketing and related financial advice, and help with the overall development of a solid foundation upon which to move forward.
Intake into the program will not begin until April 20th and interested applicants have until the end of the month to apply.
With an influx of polls and data coming in across the country, citizens are making their opinions known in regards to this immense step forward by the federal government. Yes there are fears and doubts among us as we move towards legalizing cannabis, but with education and time, there is also the potential for the tide to turn in the opposite direction. As with the implementation of any change, there will always be two sides, however, after years spent trying to restrict it’s usage, it will be interesting to see how things will proceed forward after the sails have been set in a different direction.