Article by , CBC News
Dawson MacKinnon was on his way to becoming a financial broker a year ago when he had to break it to his mother that he was quitting his job to enter the cannabis industry.
The now-23 year old was consulting at an investment banking firm in Calgary. As more and more of his clients were asking to invest in cannabis companies, he began researching the soon-to-be legal market in Canada.
“I noticed that there was a lot of people very focused on growing product and a lot of people very focused on selling the product, but the in-between portion of going from the person growing and the person selling wasn’t really being discussed or covered,” MacKinnon said.
Cannabis was not something he was familiar with on a personal level. He said that, having played competitive volleyball growing up and going straight into the business world, he hadn’t even used pot himself. The same goes for his business partner, 24-year-old Jesiah Wedel.
Despite their lack of experience at the time, both moved to Saskatchewan to join the newly-emerging industry.
Together, they now operate Running Leaf, the first wholesale cannabis company in Canada.
MacKinnon is the president of the company and one of the youngest owners in the Canadian cannabis industry.
“Saskatchewan gave a great opportunity to two guys who, honestly, in 99 per cent of the other provinces, would have never gotten it,” he said.
The pair first pursued an opportunity with Health Canada to distribute pot to the entire country, but that was thwarted when the provinces were granted the ability to regulate their own distribution. Health Canada reimbursed their national licensing fee and helped them connect with the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA), which governs cannabis in one of the only provinces to allow private wholesalers.