Oct 11, 2018

Canada has a major global head-start in cannabis: Linton

Canopy Growth's Linton: People will line up for pot like they do for iPhones on Oct. 17


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Canada will be able to use its cannabis head-start to become a global powerhouse in the sector, according to the head of the country’s largest producer.

“The last time we had this much of a lead on anything it involved a guy named Bell making a phone call,” Canopy Growth Corp. CEO Bruce Linton told BNN Bloomberg in an interview Thursday. “This is something that’s going to disrupt the next 100 years, and we’re at the front of it.”

Linton added that it’s not just about getting to the market first, it’s about learning from things like clinical trials in the medicinal space and applying that knowledge to a company’s ability to execute as a brand.

“What you start to build is a pretty substantial intellectual property portfolio,” Linton said. “So, I’m not going to export to the U.S. simple products, I’m going to be exporting to the U.S. a bunch of IP and know-how… Scale matters.”

“If and when the U.S. opens, it’s not going to be all open, it’s going to be, probably, that the biggest state is like Canada, so if you can do Canada, California’s almost the same population,” he added.

With less than a week remaining before Canada officially legalizes recreational cannabis, Linton, like many of his industry peers, are shifting the focus to what happens beyond Oct. 17 as the cannabis market begins to evolve.

“A lot of people are curious, we’re going to have big line-ups. It’s going to look like we’re selling iPhones or something,” Linton said. “But what’s going to happen is: They’re going to buy the product, they’re going to talk to their friends about it, and then the next day will happen, and that’s going to go on for about nine months.”

“Then we’re going to get to make more advanced products and they’re all going to keep coming back to the stores, because maybe it will be beverages or vapes. Things that you can make when you’re out of prohibition will be the next big wave and it will come quickly.”

But Linton warns that the companies that are going to thrive in cannabis’ corporate evolution – particularly when it comes to international expansion – will be the ones that obey the laws on both sides of the border.

“I think when you play the right game, which is to exit prohibition by jumping out – you don’t say: ‘Well, I’m only going to break a few rules,’ you break none – you’re in good shape. That’s where we are,” Linton said.

“We’re now at least a crackly-voiced teenager as far as the growing-up of a company would compare to a person.”

Cannabis Canada is BNN Bloomberg’s in-depth series exploring the stunning formation of the entirely new – and controversial – Canadian recreational marijuana industry. Read more from the special series here  and subscribe to our Cannabis Canada newsletter to have the latest marijuana news delivered directly to your inbox every day.