For years now, Canada’s cannabis companies have grown in size, soared in value and existed in a sort of ethereal middle ground waiting for that distant future when pot was legal. Now as legalization looms, one of the country’s biggest licensed producers is bracing for life on the other side of that legal divide — where promise and reality will finally meet.
“There will be failures. There will be shortcomings. There will be short shipments,” said Vic Neufeld, CEO of Aphria, one of the largest and highest-valued cannabis companies in the world.
Founded in 2014, Aphria has expanded and grown at breakneck speeds, making investors rich in the process.
And now, like every other cannabis producer in Canada, it’s about to face its biggest test when recreational marijuana becomes legal on Oct. 17, launching what’s expected to be a major industry. According to recent data from Statistics Canada, even without legalization, Canadians spend about $5.7 billion on marijuana annually.
And as we move to a legal market, the entire industry is abound with unknowns. Will there be enough supply? Will licensed producers make good on their promises? Will the retail market be as big as expected? Perhaps bigger?
After all the hype and buildup, there will be a “window of time to perform,” Neufeld says, with producers looking to capture as much of the market as possible.