A Legendary Campaign in a Budding Industry
We walk underground, and into the Cannabis vault...
It’s 2015. Trudeau has opened the door to Cannabis in Canada. We are in Gatineau, Quebec - about 40 kms from the Houses of Parliament in Ottawa.
“No, no no!”, Adam shouted as we very nearly set off the alarm. “Nobody is allowed in there,” he smiled.
We were all transfixed by an oversized jar of oil. It was almost unbelievable. Moments before, we stood beside plants with buds bigger than our heads - we are learning how Hydropothecary (and now HEXO) will drive innovation in Canada’s newest industry. We are covered head to toe in hazmat suits. Our marketing remit is wide in scope.
Yes Mom, it’s true - we’re selling weed. And everything is OK.
Fast-forward to October 2018 and Canada has officially opened the adult-use Cannabis market. We are the second country in the world to do so.
At Arcane, we have the bones of a Cannabis portfolio.
Fig. III.II.I - Cannabis
As the Media partner on AHLOT’s (A Higher Level Of Thought) recruitment campaign, we collaborated with their in-house Marketing/Creative group to help launch what was arguably the most effective cannabis campaign of 2018.
Nearly 25,000 people applied for just 5 positions and news media around the world picked up the story.
The prospective job: a seat on AHLOT’s inaugural Cannabis Curation Committee.
Fig. III.II.II - Cannabis
Opening up the market to sell
As of May 2017, Health Canada received 1665 applications from people hoping to become licensed producers. (And it’s not too late to start the application process, but the first challenge is completing the application. 50% of applications have been returned because they were not complete). Three years ago, there were only a couple dozen licensed producers.
Similar to Alcohol and Gambling, Cannabis is legal across the country, but the sector is ultimately governed at the provincial level.
While Ontario has flip-flopped on its Cannabis strategy, Doug Ford decidedly reversed the government’s position on Cannabis retail. Ontarians now have the choice of the provincially run OCS website as planned, or physical retail locations.
Many consumers (and soon to be tourists) across the country are asking ‘where do I buy?’ (And we are lending a helping hand to answer.)
The speed of market development and influx of investors has created a buzz similar to the dot-com boom 20 years ago.
Fig. III.II.III - Cannabis
Arcane is a Cannabis first-mover alongside a handful of our existing client partners that range from insurance brokers to emerging food, beverage and nutrition players.
Fig. III.II.IV - Cannabis
What this means in the workplace
The ink has just dried on our updated employee substance use policy. Like most employers, we are taking a very conservative stance - consuming recreational cannabis in the workplace will continue to be illegal - medical cannabis is subject to different rules. Like all topics at Arcane, we expect a healthy and open discussion in the future - especially as the market continues to evolve at a frantic pace and our portfolio matures.
Canada is once again home to a new breed of pioneers.
Fig. III.II.V - Cannabis
All eyes are on Canada
In the eyes of the American federal government we are the modern day rum runners, but the state-based innovators from California, Oregon and Colorado are openly talking with us as they plan their geographic expansion across the continent.
In the eyes of the educated, and the eyes of the educators, we are a nation taking sensible and ‘safety-first’ steps to a very well travelled, but newly legal frontier.
Bill Blair, our minister of border security and organized crime reduction explains, "People are already and have been for years driving under the influence of drugs and police have never had the ability to detect it.”
Fig. III.II.VI - Cannabis
Buckle your seatbelts...
As of October 17, 2018 Canadians will learn about the Dräger DrugTest 5000 - a mobile tool to test saliva for THC and also narcotics including cocaine. Police officers across the country have completed intensive training and are now importantly - better equipped - to enforce drug policy than ever before.
The success - or failure - of this social experiment will unfold with time. Cannabis has definitely kickstarted the Canadian economy and excited investors, but we are yet to see if the governments will garner the lucrative tax revenues that many have forecasted.
Most importantly, we are now on a path to undermine the illegal market, ensure a safe and controlled supply, and keep cannabis out of children’s hands.
More details and ongoing updates to Canadian cannabis laws and regulation can be found here (or here if you prefer learning from a ‘looser editorial’ point of view.)