Article by Growth Op
Owen Allerton, a former director with Blackberry, says that while alcohol is commonplace in corporate environments despite its harms, cannabis still carries a stigma.
“A startup with beer in the fridge is seen as ‘cool’, and it is entirely normal for a sales leader to take a team out for a night on the town, resulting in hangovers all around,” he notes in an emailed statement. “Those who can ‘handle their alcohol’ are the heroes, and those who cannot, are playfully mocked.”
After more than a decade with Blackberry, Allerton is now trying to change some of those conceptions.
“The irony is that cannabis has been demonized, while the excessive consumption of alcohol, a literal poison, is celebrated,” he argues. “This is why we believe strongly in the normalization and de-stigmatization of cannabis. With responsible, controlled consumption, cannabis can be a far more positive element in society,” he adds.
In February, Allerton and his wife, Niki, will open Highland Cannabis in Kitchener, Ont., a 2,000 square-foot retail space.
After Blackberry, Allerton moved to Verda Innovations, a Waterloo-based startup that offers an e-commerce platform for cannabis retailers. After a year as the company’s chief marketing officer, he is now starting his own cannabis venture.
To eliminate cannabis stigma, and better compete with the illicit market, Allerton says that customers need reliable and effective products and proper education about how to consume and incorporate cannabis into their lives.