Article by Salma Ibrahim, CBC News
In a trendy studio in Toronto’s fashion district, shared by several tech start-ups, you can slip on a pair of glasses and be transported to a weed production facility thousands of kilometres away.
Users of Patio Interactive’s virtual reality lens can walk through the building, touch the cannabis buds, and learn all about where their weed comes from.
It’s just one of many tools that tech firms are using to slice out a piece of the cannabis action as legalization nears.
“The boom has already started,” Charles Bern, the founder of Patio Interactive, told CBC Toronto. “The levels of innovation, technology, the ripple-effect of the industry has already been felt. Companies have been gearing up.”
They’re getting ready for what industry watchers anticipate will be a multi-billion-dollar bonanza.
A 2016 Deloitte report estimates that once weed is legalized in Canada, businesses that support the production and distribution of cannabis — referred to as the “ancillary market” — will be valued at approximately $7.8 billion to $13.9 billion.
“There is an adventurous, a pioneering spirit. In the same way you can look back at many of the great explorers who found parts of the world otherwise uncharted, we have the same thing in a very different context,” said Darren Karusiuk, one of the report’s authors.
Karusiuk knows what he’s talking about. He’s now an executive at MedReleaf Corp., a company in Ontario approved by Health Canada to produce and sell cannabis.