Small Towns, Big Dreams and Lowered Expectations: Communities Across Canada are Adjusting to the New Reality of the Cannabis Industry

Article by Sam Riches, Growth Op

NEWS Small towns, big dreams and lowered expectations: Communities across Canada are adjusting to the new reality of the cannabis industry The cannabis industry was touted as a saviour for small Canadian communities. But after disappointing financial reports this past quarter, towns across the country are altering their expectations By Sam Riches 1224 biz vs aurorasun FOR THE NATIONAL POST - Medicine Hat mayor Ted Clugston at city hall in Medicine Hat, Ab., on Wednesday, November 27, 2019. Mike Drew/Postmedia Medicine Hat mayor Ted Clugston has witnessed the revenue realities of cannabis companies firsthand. Mike Drew/Postmedia File – Onekanew Chief Christian Sinclair, of Opaskwayak Cree Nation, at Meta Express + Pick Up on Pembina Highway on Oct. 17, 2018. Photo: Jordan Popowich File – Canopy’s transformative impact on Smiths Falls, Ont., has been touted as a cannabis industry success story. But the company reported deep losses last Friday, Feb. 14. Photo: Julie Oliver/Postmedia

When Medicine Hat mayor Ted Clugston got word that one of Canada’s largest licensed cannabis producers, Aurora, was moving to town in 2018, he felt a little nervous. The Hat, a city of about 63,000, is one of the most politically conservative towns in Canada and it has the oldest demographic in Alberta.

But like most of the province, Gas Town was reeling from the downturn in oil, so Clugston was looking for ways to diversify the local economy. And cannabis, just a few months away from being legalized, was being celebrated as a largely untapped economic force. A trend was emerging that the cannabis industry could save sputtering Canadian towns that had previously relied on manufacturing jobs and natural resource-driven economies.

“We welcomed them. We courted them. We got on our hands and knees and begged them, frankly, to choose Medicine Hat,” Clugston tells The GrowthOp. “They could have gone anywhere in Canada.”

Read the full article here.

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