How do you build a strategy for your company in an industry that’s never existed before? That was the question facing entrants as Canada began the process to legalizing recreational cannabis in 2018.
Cannabis for medicinal purposes had been legal in Canada for several years. When the Cannabis Act came into effect on 17 October 2018, Canada became the first of the G20 countries to fully legalize cannabis for recreational consumption nationwide as well as sale and distribution to both domestic and international markets.
This was an unprecedented opportunity for Canada to be the global leader in the cannabis space, to shape the regulatory framework for cannabis around the world and to spur innovation and economic productivity.
One year before legalization, the main question to be asked was “where do new entrants into this untried industry begin?” At that time, many of the rules that would govern the recreational industry had yet to be finalized and the capacity to meet consumer demand was an unknown.
It was a critical time for the cannabis sector, and an opportune moment to ask important questions about the future. In August 2017, EY conducted a survey of licensed producers (LPs) to gain insights from licensed producers and their perspectives on opportunities for the cannabis industry in Canada.