Article by Health Europa
MCN speaks with industry expert Jamie Shaw about cannabis sector regulation in Canada, the issues patients still encounter, and industry sexism.
Jamie Shaw is a Director of the British Columbia Independent Cannabis Association, an incorporated nonprofit body representing stakeholders from every stage of British Columbia’s cannabis sector. Shaw, who is also a founding partner at Groundwork Consulting and Director of Communications and Culture at craft cannabis producer Shelter, is Canada’s only court-certified dispensary expert; and has successfully lobbied for dispensary licensing regulations in several Canadian cities. She acted as an expert witness in the groundbreaking Allard trial, which saw patients in Canada granted the right to grow their own cannabis for medical purposes.
Shaw speaks with MCN about cannabis regulation in Canada, the issues patients still encounter, and industry sexism.
Has the rollout of Cannabis 2.0 in Canada, which has seen the legalisation of cannabis derivatives including foodstuffs, vape pens and drinks, been successful overall?
From a regulatory point of view, the government probably thinks so. Consumers as a whole have benefited, as they can now access edibles and drinks, but for medical consumers who have fought for the right to access these types of products it hasn’t improved much, due to the low doses and high cost. There are still a lot of barriers to entry for many who were previously in the illicit space and licensing can still be slow, but there have been small improvements; and the hope is by cannabis 5.0 or 6.0 we may have a system that works better for everyone.
Have you faced any significant challenges as a woman in the cannabis industry?
Not as much as some. Working in the illicit cannabis industry, I never really had any issues at all. While the community was certainly male dominated, it didn’t feel necessarily exclusive. Almost from the moment licences were available, however, it became very different. Suddenly, inexperienced men were in demand and in charge everywhere; while very experienced and knowledgeable women were sidelined and subordinated. I have been pretty lucky overall, but it has definitely been more difficult even to just feel heard in some situations.