HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Pot Strategy All Wrong
Pubdate: Sat, 09 Sep 2017
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership
Contact: http://www.torontosun.com/letter-to-editor
Website: http://torontosun.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/457
Author: Tony Chapman
Page: 5

POT STRATEGY ALL WRONG

Ontario's bud is not for you

Our Ontario Liberals proudly announced their approach to selling
cannabis, which I feel will be the biggest product launch of all time.

Cannabis has an existing base of consumers across all generations, and
many are habitual.

It offers both emotional and health benefits, and as of July 1, which
now will be affectionately called Cannabis Day, all stigma and most
legal issues are unshackled.

The Liberals decided the best path to the consumer, and their
prosperity, was a state-owned solution. I mean what Government doesn't
love a good monopoly?

The consumer has no say, competition is non-existent, and they're
fully in control of pricing and taxation. Chaching.

Ontario Liberals apparently went to Moscow, at the height of
communism, to find their retail playbook.

Instead of a self-serve store, where you meander, you will need to buy
your cannabis through an awkward exchange with 'knowledgeable staff.'

How much do you have to sample to become knowledgeable?
Hmmm.

In turn, the cannabis is proudly merchandised behind closed doors and
devoid of any branding.

The problem is that the cannabis marketplace is the furthest you can
get from a monopoly. You have a competitor and it's not the little pot
shop you are pushing out.

Your competition is organized crime. And despite the best efforts of
law enforcement, they sell $60 billion of pot every year in North America.

With the new legalization laws, individuals can now grow four plants
and carry 30 grams of weed. We have given criminals a free pass to
expand their market freely and at a time when they are getting more
sophisticated and creative with branding and product innovations like
edibles and vapes.

This same group is also becoming very persuasive in how to motivate
pot users to try its higher-margin and more addictive and dangerous
drugs.

I am not in favour of legalizing cannabis until we have undertaken
some rigorous test markets to see its impact on society - from
productivity and health care to maintaining the safety of our streets
and workplaces.

I think this is more about enhancing our prime minister's brand as the
world's most liberal politician than our civil liberties.

However, if we are going to pursue this path, then we must unleash the
private sector to win share back from organized crime, and all the
benefits that come with it - taxes, jobs and tourism.

We must be consumercentric and create retail environments that match
the personalities of their neighbourhood and offer a wide product
selection that the consumer wants.

Let's unleash the entrepreneurial spirit and invite our best creative
minds, designers and retailers to innovate, invest and profit from
this boom. Let's create a stage where Canadians and tourists who want
to can play and indulge. Let's make Canadian cannabis as sought after
as French Brie or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

Why? Cannabis is big business.

As other markets follow our lead and legalize, we want to be in
position to capitalize, to proudly export and market that this
Canadian Bud is for you.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt