Happy One Month, Canada!
Since October 17, Canada’s bourgeoning cannabis industry has experienced tremendous levels of growth as producers, retailers, businesses from tech to tourism, regulatory organizations and government rally together to serve Canadian consumers.
Although still in its early days, some clear trends have already emerged. Here’s what Canadians have been talking about:
1. Concerns about supply shortages and product availability
In the lead-up to legalization, growers, producers and retailers doubled down in preparation for opening day. However, with the unprecedented strength of cannabis sales on October 17th, retail shops quickly started to run out of stock.
Since then, consumers across the country have been expressing concern over limited supplies. The main challenge for businesses is around the time it takes to acquire a license, rather than a lack of production output.
The other hurdle for suppliers lies in negotiating individual distribution agreements with each of the provinces and territories.
2. Searches for “cannabis” becoming more common than “marijuana”
According to Google Trends, consumers in Canada are increasingly using the term “cannabis” to search for products online as opposed to “marijuana”. This trend began in June, when legalization was announced, and since October 17, “cannabis” is becoming the clear favourite.
This trend is probably for the best, as the term “marijuana” has some negative connotations dating back to the days of cannabis prohibition.
3. Medical cannabis use stays strong
Despite the spotlight placed on recreational cannabis, interest and sales of medical cannabis remain steady throughout the sector. First quarter data reveals that the number of medical cannabis user registrations in Canada increased by 10,000 each month, setting a healthy precedent for the remainder of the 2018/2019 fiscal year.
As as the authorization of medical cannabis becomes more prevalent in mainstream healthcare, there are even hints of wider benefits like potential decreases in the overall cost of health coverage for Canadian citizens.
4. Consumers call for cannabis delivery
Although many brick and mortar stores and e-commerce websites for recreational cannabis have launched around the country following legalization, cannabis users in Canada are already starting to look for on-demand delivery options.
Businesses like Save the Drive are in conversation with regulatory organizations to see if delivery of cannabis can be permitted without actually being a private seller.
5. Canada watches as more American states legalize
As Americans went to the polls in the recent midterm elections, a few more U.S states joined the ranks of legalization. To date, 33 states have now legalized medical cannabis; 10 states have broadened to include recreational use.
But the key question is, will America legalize cannabis at the federal level? Some investors believe it’s inevitable. Although opening up trade in the cannabis industry with our southern neighbours is having positive effects on the Canadian market right now, business owners should be wary. The first-mover advantage isn’t likely to last forever, especially if America legalizes by the next election.