Cannabis Industry Needs To Improve Its Efforts To Educate

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Cannabis industry needs to improve its efforts to educate Northbound Cannabis Co. says it’s time to rethink how cannabis is communicated to consumers 1 / 3 To foster an environment that empowers consumers to learn more about the products, Northbound Cannabis Co. has developed a plan built on three pillars: Educate, Inspire, Enrich (supplied photo)

The discovery of gold in the Yukon in 1896 led to a stampede to the Klondike region between 1897 and 1899. In similar fashion, the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada on October 17, 2018, resulted in a rush to establish new cannabis retail operations across the country. Suddenly, entrepreneurial Canadians were free to risk their fortunes in pursuit of the potential goldmine of sales of cannabis products awaiting them.

Now, nearly two and half years after Bill C-45 helped reshape the way Canadians thought about cannabis, some of those same retailers are suggesting the industry needs a reboot to help repair mistakes made during the initial rush of retail openings.

“The cannabis industry is really confusing,” said Phil Bouffard, co-owner/director of Northbound Cannabis Co., a cannabis retail chain with their flagship store open on Regent Street in Sudbury. “There are a lot of options. It’s changing all the time. There are thousands of products available through the OCS (Ontario Cannabis Store) and hundreds of new products available every week. We think that the industry isn’t currently doing a great job helping guide the consumer.”

While offering consumers a wide choice of products is usually a good thing, Bouffard says the sheer volume of different cannabis products on the market is too overwhelming for the average cannabis consumer to deal with. Rather than creating the type of educated consumers who shop the LCBO for fine spirits and international wines, Bouffard said the cannabis industry is creating consumers who base their cannabis purchases on two primary factors.

“The number one selling product in the cannabis market is a product with the highest THC for the lowest price,” he said. “No one walks into an LCBO and asks for the highest alcohol percentage for the lowest price, because they’re going to purchase a product that tastes terrible and will result in a poor experience. What we’re hoping to do is curate the right products and curate the right message to consumers. We need to distil the information down into snackable bite-sized pieces so consumers can understand what role cannabis can play in their lifestyle.”

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