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  • Capitalizing on Ontario's Competitive Cannabis Advantage

  • Report Outlines Multi-Billion-Dollar Economic Opportunity of Recreational Cannabis Industry

    May 26, 2019
    Sault Ste. Marie - Recently, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) released its report, Supporting Ontario’s Budding Cannabis Industry. The report outlines Ontario’s competitive advantage and how to capitalize on Canada’s first-mover status in this fast-moving industry.
    Don Mitchell, President of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce (SSMCOC) suggests that Ontario has a unique opportunity to take advantage of its already-sizable position in Canada’s fledgling legalized cannabis industry. 
    As of November 2018, more than ten thousand Canadians were already employed in cannabis-related jobs, with 5,700 of those jobs being in Ontario. Around 150,000 cannabis-related jobs are expected to emerge and projections indicate that Canada’s cannabis market could generate $7.2 billion by end-of-year.
    “With that in mind,” says Mitchell, “it is imperative that both the provincial and federal governments take steps to ensure that all levels of government, as well as Canadian businesses are ready and capable of managing this emerging sector in a way that is responsible and progressive. The government and private sector also share a responsibility to ensure that the market is one that is well educated and informed.”
    Supporting Ontario’s Budding Cannabis Industry provides a comprehensive analysis of Ontario’s cannabis market from the perspective of industry and the role public policy can play to ensure the legal market remains competitive by seizing economic opportunity, eliminating the illegal market, and safeguarding public health and responsible adult consumption.
    The report makes a number of recommendations on a wide range of issues impacting the sector including:
    • Setting up the private retail market for success by proceeding with a merit-based licensing system and allowing consumers to purchase directly online from licensed producers for the next phase of private retail.
    • Addressing Ontario’s supply shortage by developing a common excise stamp to allow producers to more efficiently ship products, and investing in Health Canada’s capacity to license facilities at an accelerated rate without compromising the inspection process.
    • Getting regulations around edibles right by striking the necessary balance between prioritizing public safety while effectively eradicating the illegal market as edibles and other methods of cannabis consumption enter the market in late 2019.
    • Nurturing Ontario’s talent pool by working with Ontario’s post-secondary institutions, highlighting the variety of education and employment opportunities related to the legal cannabis sector.
    “With Ontario home to more than half the licensed producers of recreational cannabis in Canada and the majority of cannabis employment held right here in Ontario, we are positioned to lead Canada’s recreational cannabis industry on the world stage,” says Michelle Eaton, Vice President of Communications and Government Relations of the OCC. “Ensuring the private retail market is successful is critical to the long-term viability of the sector. As Ontario’s business advocate, we are committed to shaping responsible public policy to establish us as a competitive, global leader.”
    “The Province has a role to play in ensuring the legal market remains competitive and seizes the opportunity to be a global leader in the recreational cannabis space,” states Rory Ring, CEO of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce. “We are the first G7 country to federally legalize recreational cannabis use and other nations will look to us when developing their own regulations.”

    While questions remain, including how prive retail will unfold in Ontario, 
    the Sault Ste. Marie and Ontario Chambers of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber network will be working with all levels of government, investors, entrepreneurs, business owners, and post-secondary institutions to establish balanced regulations that consider both public safety and economic growth.
    Read the OCC’s report, Supporting Ontario’s Budding Cannabis Industry here.
    About the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce
    The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of 700 plus business and agencies in Sault Ste. Marie and has been serving the needs of this community since 1889. The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce will lead the way as the voice of business, advancing economic prosperity for its membership and the business community. Learn more about the SSMCOC at www.ssmcoc.com
    About the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
    For more than a century, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been the independent, non-partisan voice of Ontario business. The OCC’s mission is to support economic growth in Ontario by defending business priorities at Queen’s Park on behalf of its network’s diverse 60,000 members. 
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