· by Bianca Caramento
Report Outlines Multi-Billion-Dollar Economic Opportunity of Cannabis Industry
Hamilton – May 1, 2019 – The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) released a report, Supporting Ontario’s Budding Cannabis Industry, which outlines Ontario’s competitive advantage in the fast-growing industry and how to capitalize on Canada’s first-mover status.
Since successfully advocating in December/January for the City of Hamilton to opt-in to the Province’s private sector retail regime, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce has begun to develop an expertise among its peers on this topic. The Chamber’s policy analyst, Bianca Caramento, contributed to the cannabis report and will be participating on a panel at this week’s Ontario Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting.
“This report was a natural next step in our ongoing cannabis advocacy. As I’ve said repeatedly, cannabis has the opportunity to be to Hamilton what the grape is to Niagara Region. The Hamilton area is already establishing a strong market share in the booming cannabis industry, and we are poised for continued rapid growth,” said Keanin Loomis, President and CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. “At a time where we are actively trying to grow the commercial tax base, this form of advanced agriculture will add to the diversity of our growing economy.”
“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.”
This report 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’spost-secondary institutions, highlighting the variety of education and employment opportunities related to the legal cannabis sector.
While many questions remain, including how private retail will unfold in Ontario, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and OCC 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.
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Marie Nash, Director of Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Hamilton Chamber of Commerce
905.522.1151 ext. 245