Examining the retail cannabis space at a macro level

There are certain developments in every generation that create opportunities for those who have an eye to seize upon them. The twentieth century was full of these technological, political or cultural shifts.

The widespread production of electric power, the splitting of the atom, the rise of computer technology — these are just a few of the discoveries that changed Western society, and paved the way for new industries and news way of life.

It’s not unrealistic to believe that the legalization of cannabis will be seen in later years as one of these shifts.

Currently, the known cannabis market is at least a $100-200 billion industry, while the illicit market is worth at least $100-150 billion. The idea that it is now possible to convert that illicit market into one that is legalized is exciting. It means that what is now an unknown frontier—Cannabis retail—will eventually become mainstream.

The societal concerns surrounding legalization are not new. There were similar concerns surrounding the legalization of alcohol in Canada following the First World War, and regulations also varied province to province for a number of years. Many people had health concerns and were worried about liquor’s widespread use. They were suspicious that uncontrolled public drunkenness would ensue once people had the ability to consume freely and openly.

While similar concerns have been raised about cannabis, this sector has the advantage of showing promising scientific research and development, through which effective solutions for the treatment of chronic pain and disease are being discovered. The industry can build a mainstream reputation on this solid foundation.

So here, at the beginning of a new era, cannabis retailers have the opportunity to be first in what is sure to be a valuable space. Clear regulations will develop from province to province and governments will gradually improve those laws and make them more suitable to social expectations. Eventually, any existing stereotypes will fade.

In the meantime, the possibility that an entrepreneur could start off with a very small company and build into something exponentially larger, represents one of the most recent frontiers here in Canada, and the possibility of a larger frontier abroad.