• Niche Canada

CEO Update: Conversations Continue as Canada Prepares for Legalization

Where are we and where are we headed? That’s been the topic of discussion as NICHE continues to reach out to communities in an effort to foster constructive conversations about what cannabis legalization means to them and how people can prepare for the upcoming changes.

In a matter of months, Canada will do what no other country other than Uruguay has done – legalize the production, distribution and sale of recreational cannabis. And, while most agree there will be many benefits, change can be difficult, especially when there are still unanswered questions. That’s why education and outreach is a critical part of this historic move. The world is watching and Canada needs to get it right.

On May 17, NICHE held a cannabis forum in Kelowna to educate stakeholders from local government, tourism, work safety, health care, insurance and other sectors on what to expect, how they can capitalize on the economic benefits while mitigating risk.

We were very pleased that Health Canada was a featured speaker at our event, which was focused on providing people with meaningful and practical information about how they can prepare and position themselves for a successful transition.

We applaud the BC Chambers of Commerce because they have been taking the lead in fostering important dialogue about legalization. Employers are asking tough questions so they can develop new policies to ensure they are equipped to effectively manage this unprecedented change. In many cases, the frameworks are already in place. But, businesses need to learn how to operate confidently under this new regime, and that takes proper education and new tools. Information is power, and the BC Chambers are creating the opportunity for the transfer of knowledge to take place.

In the month of May alone, NICHE spoke to curious crowds at the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce, the Langley Chamber of Commerce and at the BC Chamber of Commerce AGM.

The discussions included everything from implementing new HR policies, to new business opportunities and providing clarity around what the new legal and regulatory framework means at the grassroots level.

At the BC Chamber event, Linda Stromberg, NICHE’s Chief Operating Officer spoke on the Green Economy panel, addressing issues such as workplace safety, public safety, medicinal benefits and how communities and businesses can capitalize on the opportunities in front of us.

This past weekend, NICHE took part in the Lift & Co. cannabis business conference and expo in Toronto. The energy and ambition in the room was palpable. Industry groups from across the country, and representing all sectors, were there to discuss the latest trends in business and industry hot topics. Panelists highlighted what’s been working well, and what needs to be improved if legalization is going to be a true success for both patients and businesses.

One of the most intriguing panels was the ‘Quality Compliance’ panel. The panelists from Zenabis and Molecular Science Corporation explained how demand for quality will be driven by educating consumers on the value of terpenes and flavonoids. We couldn’t agree more that there needs to be a greater emphasis put on highlighting the importance of quality and how it can transform the consumer experience.

The Cannabis Wise certification program is aiming to help ensure that quality cannabis reigns supreme. Consumers are looking for credible information about which specific flowers have been grown, processed and cured to meet the traditional quality standards expected by the experienced consumer.

Next month, NICHE will be attending the O'Cannabiz conference in Toronto and we’re looking forward to speaking at the ‘Roll’ Models: Women Leaders in Cannabis' Breakfast’, as we discuss how the 21st Century cannabis trade is already seeing female entrepreneurs write their own success stories.

We are entering a new era in Canada, and if we’re going to get it right, we must continue to have frank and honest discussions about what is working and what needs to be changed. Public education and communication is the foundation for the successful implementation of a legalized cannabis regime.