• Niche Canada

Attitudes are Shifting and Opportunities are Knocking

With legalization on the horizon in Canada, the cannabis industry is entering a new era. Attitudes are shifting and opportunities are knocking.

Health Canada estimates that up to six million Canadians will use cannabis next year. Society has accepted the medical benefits of marijuana and the stigma around it is disappearing. As a result, business opportunities are multiplying by the day in areas such as science, technology, education, agriculture, design, finance, law, medicine, sales and human resources.

At the recent Grow Up conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario, hundreds of people from the across the country came together to share success stories, ask tough questions, learn from industry pioneers and figure out how to capitalize on the ensuing business opportunities.

And, women are leading the way and influencing the future of Canada’s cannabis industry. Dr. Uma Dhanabalan, a physician trained in family medicine, spoke at the Grow Up conference. Dr. Dhanabalan is highly respected in her field and believes that cannabis is not an entrance drug, it is an exit drug from pharmaceuticals and narcotics.

Mandy McKnight also told her story at the conference. She’s a mom and an advocate for safe access to medical marijuana. Her son was not responding to traditional medicine and she knew she needed to find another option to fix the pain and suffering he was enduring because of seizures. So, she turned to cannabis. Over the past four years, after witnessing the incredible progress her son has made since starting cannabis as a treatment, she became a vocal advocate for kids and cannabis.

Their stories were eye-opening and powerful. They confirmed that we are on the right path and patients have the most to gain from legalization. And, the country is listening.

NICHE CEO Barinder Rasode spoke at the women’s breakfast panel at the conference and saw firsthand that women are not only making their mark, they are some of the industry’s fiercest advocates for the safe transition to legalization.

But, as the landscape evolves, comes a newfound responsibility. As cannabis moves into the political and social mainstream, health and safety needs to be first and foremost if the industry is going to thrive in the post-legalization era.

This will require strategic partnerships to support research, policy, public education and new resources for health and law enforcement stakeholders.

The regulatory framework for legalization is still being developed and how communities will handle this new world, in many cases, has yet to be determined. But, one thing is clear, cannabis has gone from the backroom to the boardroom, and entrepreneurs are the face of this new regime.