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Why You Should Become a Cannabis Entrepreneur

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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.

MacaVerde believes that, “cannabis is the next investable market and represents a unique opportunity to capitalize on a new industry with already established demand.”

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.

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Editorial

Canada, a Foreign Country

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I first arrived in Calgary with one purpose: to study English as a second language at the University of Calgary. At only 19 years I abandoned my family, friends, pets and the ocean breeze of my hometown Mazatlan, Mexico, in order to pursue my dream career in Canada.

It had always been a plan of mine to study Journalism at SAIT because of Canada’s high-quality educational system, it was just a matter of following through with the plan. According to Article 19, a group that tracks crimes against journalists around the world, Mexico is one of the countries with the most missing journalists. As much as I wanted to pursue this career path, I also wanted to be safe.Knowing that my country was one of the most dangerous countries in America to practice Journalism was a frightening thought, but also made it easier to make the decision to move.

I’m aware that most people move out when they go to college, but the difference is that I was going to be 2,502 miles away from home, and I had never been that far. Ever. When it comes to life it is said that some sacrifices are worth making, and that day I decided to make one of my own.

Being so far away from the people you love and the things you’re used to, requires a lot of hard work. It’s definitely not easy to abandon the cozy and magical place that is your comfort zone, especially when you’re forced out of it.

Living in a foreign country has been an emotional roller coaster for me. Only getting to see my family and friends one month in the whole year is the most difficult thing. After 19 years of seeing my loved ones every day, it becomes really weird to see a picture of the whole family hanging out together without me on a Sunday. It’s the worst because it makes you realize how far away from them you are and how much you miss them. Thank god for technology because I’m able to call my parents almost every day and talk with them.

Another aspect which has been an interesting adjustment to make is the food. I’ve tried to cook the traditional food that I was used to but failed in the attempt. The ingredients are not the same, some aren’t even sold here so I had to replace them. Don’t try it, it’s not a good idea. It doesn’t taste the same. In addition to all that, I also don’t have my mother’s amazing cooking skills, so to say the food quality was lacking, would be an understatement.

Sometimes, whenever I’m craving Mexican food and decide to go out, I come to realize that it’s three times more expensive here than it was back home! I usually try to convince myself to just leave it, but if the craving is unstoppable, I’ll pay the $15 for three tacos, while mourning the fact that back home they’re only $4 (and usually taste way better than anything I can find here).

It may sound cheesy but whenever I listen to music that reminds me of my city, or country in general, I get chills. It usually depends on the music or the lyrics, but whenever I’m feeling homesick and listen to certain songs, a certain sense of nostalgia overtakes me and I’ve been known to shed a tear or two.

Sometimes you may experience several different things when you’re abroad, that you think you would’ve taken them easier if you were still at home.

One time I was walking to a friend’s house with the help of Google Maps when suddenly my phone ran out of battery. I got lost and it was snowing. Luckily it wasn’t too cold out and I was fully-layered, but it was scary. Not for the first time did I find myself questioning what I was doing here.

As luck would have it a good Samaritan (who was lost as well but in the comfort of a car) gave me a ride to my friend’s house. Now that I think about it, I could’ve been kidnapped or murdered, but at the time it was the best solution I had, and I find myself looking back at that memory fondly.

As time goes on you face various struggles along the way. People you’d never considered disappointing you who do, getting yelled at for silly reasons, failing at something you’ve put a lot of effort into, getting rejected…I could go on, but compiled together, all these things really make you question yourself; is this really worth it?

Many times over, you think about calling it quits and going back home; forget the silly dream that you had yourself convinced would be worth it. You think about how you could go back to your friends and family where everything is butterflies and rainbows and nothing bad ever happens, and life is great still.

I have thought of that, but then I ask myself, what’s the point of going back? What would I accomplish then? There’s no gain when there’s no pain. I shouldn’t be looking back, only forward.

Even though it’s only been a year since I’ve moved to Calgary, I’ve seen breathtaking sights, met amazing people, tried different dishes from all around the world, and discovered a lot of things about myself that I wouldn’t have noticed before.

Being away from home has helped me become more aware of the person that I truly am and figure out what I want in life. It has taught me to set goals and to not only believe but also depend on myself.

When it comes down to it, I don’t regret moving from Mazatlan’s incredible sunsets to Calgary’s crazy weather. Of course I miss home, my family, my friends, my pets, the patio weather every single day of the year, not to mention the food! However, every time I feel discouraged, I think about the goals that I have and the incredible people I’ve met here, and that keeps me going.

I know there’s going to be tons of people out there that understand what I’m saying. Living in a foreign country is a challenge and it has its difficulties, but it’s a challenge that’s worth overcoming nonetheless.

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