Nearly 20 years ago, in 2001, Canada was at the forefront of change when it became the first country to legalize medical cannabis. Now, with its October 2018 legalization of adult-use recreational cannabis, Canada has undone a 95-year-old ban and once again taken a major step forward.
In fact, as provinces and territories allow adult-use sales from coast to coast, the country is staking a strong leadership claim in an emerging $250 billion global market. For those Canadian companies prepared to make a difference, this is a once-in-a-lifetime moment to shape an industry – not just at home but around the world.
A Historic Relationship
Humans have cultivated cannabis for nearly 5,000 years for a reason: the flowering plant’s molecular properties have tremendous social, health and wellness benefits when used responsibly. Indigenous to Central and South Asia, the plant and its many applications spread throughout the world – reaching the Middle East and Africa thousands of years ago and the Western Hemisphere by the mid-sixteenth century.
But colonial restriction efforts throughout Asia and Latin America, as well as efforts in the United States and Canada in the early 20th century, culminated in widespread prohibition and stigmatization of cannabis.
The Seeds of Change
Canada paved the way for medical cannabis and was joined by such countries as Portugal, Belgium, Chile, Brazil and the Czech Republic. Just as jurisdictions followed Canada’s lead on the medical front – allowing the use of cannabis to treat pain, nausea and other conditions – an increasing number are poised to similarly decriminalize adult use. Soon, consumers around the world will look for a whole host of products that deliver consistently great experiences. An they’ll turn to companies they can trust.
With legalization, first on a national then international scale, cannabis will emerge from the shadows as an amazingly adaptable consumer good. Like other consumer packaged goods – from coffee to alcohol, chocolate to potato chips, shampoo to cosmetics – it lends itself to just a handful of truly global players with expertise in production, distribution, sales and brand loyalty, and, importantly, market-defining innovation.
The global cannabis market will inevitably consolidate. But in the not-so-distant future, lists of $100 billion CPG businesses will include one or two companies that were able to fully capitalize on this historic moment. These will be household names, with concentrated brand value and name recognition on par with leaders in soft drinks and alcohol. There are only a handful of cannabis companies with a credible shot of making that list – and we believe HEXO Corp. is among them.
As a Canadian company with a first-mover advantage, we have methodically built a foundation to shape and define the cannabis market – particularly in the minds of consumers and investors.Collapse