• Barinder Rasode

Update from our CEO

Big changes are underway in Canada as Parliament moves forward with cannabis legalization. I don’t mean just the law: attitudes are being challenged too.

Many of us are of the generation that branded cannabis as a gateway drug. Its emergence as a widespread health solution is deeply understood by those of us close to the matter, yet this embrace is not universal at this point. As a nation we are split – one-half (51%) of residents are in favour of the legalization of marijuana, while 49 per cent either oppose or are still sitting on the fence. (NRG Research Group, March 2017).

Dropping negative stereotypes overnight is not going to be possible, but it is necessary that we work towards the goal of stronger acceptance for freedom of choice. The cannabis industry cannot afford to fail in this. The federal government taskforce on cannabis legalization and regulation was the first to recognize the urgent need for investments in research and information.

At NICHE, we have a plan of action for bringing about the necessary change in attitude.

We want to see Canadians learning more about cannabis. Stimulating an informed discussion is something we will be doing to encourage a spirit of learning. We are engaging with decision makers, stakeholders and the public. We have been working to provide basic facts for select audiences, through social media, editorials, and old-fashioned getting out and talking to people.

As CEO of NICHE, I’ll continue to build our vehicle up to be the one that takes a sensible and informed approach leading to an improved public dialogue. It’s important during the early phases of such an endeavour to build awareness among key industry people, and lately I’ve been bringing the NICHE message to our industry colleagues as a speaker and participant at a variety of gatherings:

  • the O’Cannabiz Conference in Toronto

  • Tiger 21 in Montreal

  • The Canadian Institute Cannabis conference

  • Lift Expo

  • ICRS Conference in Montreal.

This is only the beginning. As NICHE our plan is to be a unifying voice for industry participants who are sometimes competitors with one another yet share the common goal of growing the market. I look forward to working with you on this.

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