2018 is going to be a big year for our country.
After successfully legalizing medical cannabis years ago, Canada will become the first G7 country to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
The rest of the world will be watching intently when everything unfolds this summer.
But beyond legalization, the Canadian cannabis industry is sure to continue to grow at the rapid pace it did in 2017, with now nearly 90 licensed producers and hundreds more on the way.
We caught up with 11 medical cannabis experts to get their industry predictions for what is going to be a wild year.
Watch the documentary-style video below or scroll down to read all of the quotes.
“There will always be a true medical market”
“I think we will still see true medical patients that need to have a nurse practitioner or a physician involved in their care, maybe a pharmacist as well for drug interactions,” says Terry Lake, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for Hydropothecary. “They may need different formulations at different times of day, so I think there will always be a true medical market.
“In between there’s going to be this health and wellness market as well — high CBD products — that’s all about aging well and living well. So I think over the next year we’re going to see a fragmentation but still some overlap in those three types of markets [medical, recreational, health & wellness].”
“Driving the stigma down will affect the industry in a really positive way”
“My prediction for 2018 is that it’ll be the year that the Canadian public actually learns about the industry, appreciates the unique nature of the Canadian industry, and really starts to normalize cannabis use,” says Jay Rosenthal, Co-Founder & President of businessofcannabis.ca.
“I think driving the stigma down will really affect the industry in a really positive way, which is good for Canadian businesses.”
“I don’t think we’ll see legalization by July 2nd”
“First things first, I don’t think we’ll see legalization by July 2nd,” says Marshall Posner, VP of Sales & Marketing at Delta 9 Cannabis. “I know initially it was July 1st that everybody was talking about. The government came out and made it clear that that isn’t happening, and then I think everybody just thought that July 2nd was the message that was being delivered. I don’t believe that’s going to happen, I think there’s going to be a bit of a delay. Some point in July, that’s my bold prediction.”
“Gone are the days of brownies and lollipops”
“It’s a really exciting time for Canada. We’re the 2nd country to legalize cannabis and I think the whole world is watching,” says Diandra Phipps, chef and Manager of Corporate Affairs for National Access Cannabis.
“When we look at the United States and different states that have legalized [cannabis], especially in the food scene, a lot of chefs are up and coming and taking cannabis cuisine to the next level.
“Gone are the days of brownies and lollipops and suckers — there are a lot of chefs focusing on fine dining cuisine, which I’m really interested in. So I’m really looking forward to July where we can start taking our dinners that we make for medical patients and open them up to the recreational crowd. That’s something i’m really looking forward to and I think the best is yet to come.”
“We’re going to see more studies really get started”
“I think we’re going to see a lot more studies really get started in 2018 now that [medical cannabis will be] more of an accessible product,” says Chris Stone, Director of Quality at Broken Coast Cannabis.
“People are going to be able start doing research and really start lining up strain elements with medical conditions, which is something that’s really been lacking and has really only existed in anecdotal evidence form. Looking forward to that.”
“Every gram produced in Canada will be sold out”
“My prediction is that every gram [of cannabis] produced in Canada will be sold out,” says Phil Dépault, Co-Founder & CEO of Maitri. “There will be a lack of cannabis in Canada for the next year or two years.”
“No information anywhere, no product promotions”
“You’re going to walk in and it’s going to be an empty store. There’s going to be nothing on display, no branding [inside stores],” says Cody Lindsay, Chef & Founder of TheWellnessSoldier.com. “No information anywhere, no product promotions. That’s how I kind of see it, at least for a couple of years, until [the government] really gives into the model that they already have right now. We have one of the largest jurisdictions already. [The government] needs to integrate in, rather than [everyone else] integrating out.”
“A much bigger focus on branding”
“From my end, it’s going to be all about trying to develop an infused product space and how that’ll be very important as the government gets on the policy side of it, said Ivan Ross Vrana, VP at Hill + Knowlton Strategies.
“I think from my perspective we’re going to see the public discourse move beyond the regulatory frameworks and into how to address social norms,” adds Elliott Gauthier, Vice President of Research at Hill + Knowlton Strategies.
“I would say a much bigger focus on branding, particularly as brands decide whether or not they want to focus on medical or the recreational space,” says Omar Khan, Vice President at Hill + Knowlton strategies.
“Cannabis is going to take over the world and Canada will be at the forefront”
“I’ve got two predictions for the cannabis industry in 2018. Number one, cannabis is going to take over the world and Canada will be at the forefront,” says Nick Pateras, Vice President of Growth at Lift. “Number two, Green Relief will emerge as one of the best LPs in the global cannabis industry — remember the name.”