Article by Aidan Wallace, Toronto Sun
This is set to be an exciting year for the Canadian cannabis industry, but there are still several hurdles the fledgling industry must overcome if it is to live up to pre-legalization hype.
According to data from Brightfield Group’s January 2020 Canadian Cannabis report, one-third of Canadian cannabis consumers were unsure which brands they were purchasing and 50% didn’t know what dosage they preferred in 2019.The survey data illuminates two problems the government, licensed cannabis producers, sellers, and consumers have experienced since legalization.
“Regulations were so extensive that few brands or products were able to gain traction among customers,” the report states.
“Most consumers are transitioning from the illicit to legal market,” Bethany Gomez, managing director at Brightfield Group, told The Toronto Sun, noting many cannabis companies have terrible brand recognition among consumers because of federal mandated “marketing restrictions.”
“Three-quarters of the (legal cannabis) packaging is warning labels,” Gomez said, adding there is “no real reason why Canadian consumers would remember (any) brand.”
When most consumers look to purchase cannabis, be it online or in person, there has been “a lot of confusion” among new buyers. Budtenders in licensed pot shops speak about specific strains of weed, not particular products, Gomez said.
“Consumers don’t know and don’t care” what company is selling the product Gomez said. The research they conducted indicates consumers only care “how good is the product and can you actually get it to shelves.”
The insecurity many cannabis consumers have when purchasing is reflected in the 50% of Canadians who were unsure of what dosage to take when consuming cannabis.Gomez explained the rollout of new cannabis 2.0 products is “very exciting” for the industry but also presents challenges for new cannabis users.
Edibles take much longer to take effect, whereas smoking cannabis “reacts in the body a lot quicker,” Gomez said.