Jul 16, 2018
Legalized cannabis rollout has been a 'gong show': Brett Wilson
Brett Wilson: Canada's cannabis rollout is a gong show
W. Brett Wilson is not a fan of how Canada has handled rolling out legalized cannabis.
“It’s a bit of a gong show,” the Canoe Financial chairman told BNN Bloomberg in an interview on Monday. “At the federal, provincial and municipal level, you’ve got competing government interests.”
“One side says: ‘Let’s make sure that no cannabis has any branding,’ and at the other extreme they’ve got local, municipal politicians saying: ‘We’re going to limit consumption in public.’”
Wilson says enforcement – especially around public consumption - is going to prove even more difficult once edibles are fully legalized, which is expected to be within one year of the Oct. 17 start date.
“You can’t limit cookies,” he said. “And cookies, and the evolution of edibles and oils are the essence of the cannabis industry. It’s going to be really hard to watch and see how enforcement works.”
However, Wilson did praise Canada’s moves towards legalization on both a medical and recreational level as a means to give the country a global competitive advantage.
“The broader vision of legalizing first medical and now recreational puts Canada in the catbird seat to do an international play, and I hope that we keep the momentum upward,” he said.
The recreational cannabis space has been evolving rapidly in recent months with partnerships taking centre stage. Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) made headlines on Monday by partnering with Shopify for its online sales. Beverage partnerships have also stoked competition in the space, with Canopy Growth (WEED.TO) teaming up with Constellation Brands (STZ.N) and Molson Coors (TAP.N) reportedly on the prowl for a cannabis sector partner.
Wilson – who is invested in the cannabis space – said the evolution of recreational cannabis has made for some good theatre on an executive level.
“I’m a big fan of getting to know the big people in the game,” Wilson said, pointing to executives like Aurora’s Terry Booth and Canopy’s Bruce Linton. “There’s lots of different connections that I’ve really been watching as I see the people unfold, and it’s a fascinating industry for people.”