You almost certainly know by now that Canada legalized marijuana in October of 2018. What you may not have heard is that the rollout has not gone smoothly so far, which may be the understatement of the decade.
The Canadian situation wasn’t helped by a midyear change in government, with the incoming Conservative Party scrapping the Liberal government’s plan entirely less than four months before legalization was to take effect. The incoming government settled on an online-only sales plan to begin, and the infrastructure was (to put it politely) not ready for prime time, nor was the supply ready to meet the demand.
To make things even better, the Canadian postal service began a series of rotating strikes just as 150,000 cannabis orders were placed in the first week of legalization. This was the final touch in a perfect storm of problems, as many of the lucky ones who were able to actually place orders couldn’t get them delivered. The result: a booming black market as users sought out their old, illegal connections.
Take that situation and multiply it by 50 states, each with its own policies ranging from still-illegal to medical-use-only to legal, and you begin to understand some of the hurdles facing the nascent U.S. cannabis industry. As with many other new industries (like the internet in, say, 1998), the gold rush of investing and stock valuations masks thinly disguised chaos behind the scenes.
With that kind of industry-wide turmoil as the current state of affairs, what’s a company to do? We favor a measured approach. Sometimes it makes good business sense to swim against the tide, and with everyone else trying to get there first, our goal is to get there best. In our world, that means designing and building a product that’s capable of adapting to the never-ending changes in the cannabis industry, not whipsawing back and forth with each bit of breaking news.
Launching a new business in a mature and stable industry is difficult enough, and not everyone will still be standing when the cannabis shakeout comes to its inevitable conclusion. We firmly believe that the time and effort invested now in a methodical and adaptable approach will pay big dividends in the future.