The opportunities that lie ahead of the legalization and influential stride of cannabis.
Being on the brink of something revolutionary can only really be seen clearly in hindsight, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t signs. As October 17th approaches, Canada will soon become the first G7 nation to federally legalize cannabis. With an established medical market that is already exporting to New Zealand, Australia, Germany and the Czech Republic – corporations, upstart start-ups and intrepid entrepreneurs are looking to Bill C-45 with the anticipation of innovative, groundbreaking, and above all else, lucrative, change.
In short, this is huge.
On July 10th Startupfest Montreal dedicated an entire day to discuss the emerging green market, with experts from across North America coming to discuss the latest trends in research, tech and cannabis-based consumer goods. While many things were explained, discussed and debated, the unofficial meta theme of Cannabisfest was simply this:
We need to elevate the way we talk about this plant.
Communication is perhaps the biggest challenge businesses will face entering into a federally regulated cannabis market, and this problem is threefold in its complexity.
First, there is a general lack of public knowledge and education surrounding cannabis. Most people don’t fully understand what it actually is, what it can do, the ways it can be used and the problems it can address.
Second, these gaps in knowledge have been filled in with a cultural vision of marijuana that either ostracizes it to the punch line of a joke or features it in a banner warning of a PBS sponsored PSA.
The last hurdle is, thankfully, comparatively straightforward. Once entrepreneurs can speak the same language as the consumer, then they get to tell the story of their business, their product, and the place they can have in their customers’ lives, just the way they would in any other industry.
We are currently on the periphery of a multi-billion-dollar industry that positions Canada as a clear frontrunner and precursor to a global market… we just don’t know how to talk about it. Not only does this mean we have an opportunity to create an accessible vocabulary for how we speak about cannabis, it also means we have the opportunity to re-engage with the way we talk about medicine, self-care, mental health and wellness.
To say that content creation and professional storytelling are vital to this industry’s success is an understatement.