Original cannabis journalism for Canadians

Legal cannabis has vast pot-ential

Economic development will be key impact of marijuana's new status

On Wednesday, across the country, the novelty of the first day of legal cannabis was playing itself out in strip malls and storefronts (except in Ontario, where it’s mail-order only for now).

Because of the previous black-market status of the product and the stereotyped down-market image of its consumers, there was a public-spectacle feel to the birth of this newly licit industry.

While provincial governments pile up restrictive regulations on public consumption and others remain concerned about public health issues, society as we know it is not likely to break stride.

And regardless of all the expensive market research and consultants’ reports, no one really knows what the demand will be or how well the supply chain will work.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 30 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 30 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

On Wednesday, across the country, the novelty of the first day of legal cannabis was playing itself out in strip malls and storefronts (except in Ontario, where it’s mail-order only for now).

Because of the previous black-market status of the product and the stereotyped down-market image of its consumers, there was a public-spectacle feel to the birth of this newly licit industry.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Businesses such as Delta 9 Cannabis have invested millions into new facilities in Winnipeg to take advantage of the large market for legalized marijuana.</p>

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Businesses such as Delta 9 Cannabis have invested millions into new facilities in Winnipeg to take advantage of the large market for legalized marijuana.

While provincial governments pile up restrictive regulations on public consumption and others remain concerned about public health issues, society as we know it is not likely to break stride.

And regardless of all the expensive market research and consultants’ reports, no one really knows what the demand will be or how well the supply chain will work.

What is undeniable, however, is that like the introduction of any new mass consumer product, it is causing economic development to occur.

To what extent and how sustainable it all is remains to be seen. Most of the estimates of the national economic impact are well over $10 billion per year.

Overnight, Canada has become the world leader in legal pot.

Advertisement

It’s not to say that the Canadian cannabis industry is going is replace oil and become the new petro-dollar, but just in Winnipeg alone, long vacant warehouses are being filled, retail spaces that were previously begging for tenants are now commanding top dollar and hundreds of new jobs are being created within the industry. Not to mention all the ancillary jobs that go with it.

Those stylish turn-of-the-century buildings, which local tourism marketing professionals love to highlight to bolster our image as a sophisticated city, still need to be repurposed somehow.

The Winnipeg Cold Storage building, for instance, might not have lasted much longer, propped up beside the Slaw Rebchuk bridge, if the licensed producer Bonify — one of only about 115 in the country — did not come along.

The company has invested millions of dollars into outfitting that 320,000-square-foot building with state-of-the-art equipment to grow and distribute cannabis.

On the far eastern reaches of the city, Delta 9 Cannabis just paid more than $6 million for a swath of marginalized industrial land on the fringe of CN’s Transcona properties, to turn it into the permanent home of that company’s growing cannabis campus.

Delta 9 has now perfected a production style, remanufacturing shipping containers into Health Canada-approved production pods.

It’s proved to be so popular and cost-effective that Delta 9 is now building and shipping them to third-party producers.

What was once a cluster of low-value, low-volume warehouses is now a bustle of activity with more than 100 of Delta 9’s own employees and dozens of other contracted journeymen on site installing precision electrical, HVAC and hydraulic systems into the shipping container/production pods.

If consumer demand for cannabis is only a fraction of the estimated volume, Delta 9 will have to keep those contracted tradesmen on hand for many months building more pods.

It’s been a long-standing habit of commercial real estate landlords to thumb their noses at any potential tenant that might be off-putting to high-rent national clients, who would regularly include conditions in their rental agreements precluding landlords from renting nearby space to anyone with even a whiff of counterculture.

Industry professionals say that a year ago, when the legalization process was just beginning, there was a stigma about the potential presence of a cannabis store in a traditional retail setting.

Notwithstanding legislation now in place restricting where they can go, once landlords started to realize that not only would cannabis stores pay top rent, but would also incorporate high-end designs, fancy millworked cabinetry and leasehold improvements far exceeding what the average retailer would spend, that stigma started evaporating.

Canadian governments’ propensity to intensely regulate the end of marijuana prohibition has likely made the process of getting to this point more arduous and costly to the practitioners. The social impact will be closely observed and the actual market demand will probably take some time to become predictable.

But in the meantime, instead of looking the other way from what was estimated to be a $5 billion-plus underground economy, there’s now going to be plenty of commercial activity conducted and taxes collected for the benefit of all of society.

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

$publicationName is not accepting comments on this story.

Why aren't comments accepted on this story? See our Commenting Terms and Conditions.

What Next

Share this article

Sign up to receive The Leaflet newsletter!

Recommended for you

Advertisement