Articleb by David Rockne Corrigan, TVO
Long before reports came out suggesting that Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government would turn to a private-retail model for cannabis sales, two eastern Ontario communities had hitched their wagons to the budding industry.
We don’t yet know much about the government’s plans, but we do know one thing for certain: legal cannabis is coming, and it will create economic winners and losers throughout the province.
Potential winners include companies such as Canopy Growth Corporation — already considered the largest cannabis company in the world — which is expecting further growth once recreational cannabis is legalized on October 17.
The losers will be the producers and sellers who have been operating in grey and black markets. It’s impossible to say precisely how legalization will affect Canada’s underground cannabis market, which is valued at roughly $5 billion. But companies such as Canopy Growth will doubtless steal customers and revenue from sellers who have been operating in the shadows.
It’s also unclear how legalization will affect First Nations communities that have come to rely on cannabis revenue. Take Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, for example, the main reserve of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte First Nation. Provincial and federal law-enforcement agencies have generally left the territory’s dispensaries to their own devices (whereas in Hamilton and Toronto, for example, police have shut down dozens over the past few years). But it’s difficult to say what their place will be in the cannabis economy after legalization.
Smiths Falls: The ‘pot capital of Canada’
The former Hershey chocolate factory in Smiths Falls is buzzing. For years, the 430,000-square-foot facility sat vacant, and municipal leaders wondered whether it would ever be used again. Today, construction is underway on a 130,000-square-foot expansion.