I was a biological and medical sciences student at University when I had my first brush with cannabis. At the time, my initial thoughts related to cannabis usage were woven around misunderstandings and confusion as to why there was so much stigma around it, as compared to alcohol.
I would often see friends and classmates at university engage in excessive alcohol use, affecting their grades, social lives, and overall health (particularly in the short term). On the other hand, recreational cannabis consumers were much less prone to hangovers, impaired mistakes, and missed deadlines. I always personally found that cannabis helped provide the ability to look at personal opportunities and challenges from a fresh perspective and brought about a sense of wellness and balance. However, there continued to be underlying guilt and conflicting feelings associated with cannabis consumption.
So, what changed my outlook? The answer is simple. Real-life, face-to-face exposure to the business of cannabis.
Can we imagine a birthday without champagne or a game night without beer? With the impending legalization in Canada and more jurisdictions across the world, I am very excited to see how that scenario might shift, with cannabis having a real possibility to become a substitute, to help people live more enriched, healthier and connected lives.
Having gained my law degree from Canada’s leading law school and being entrenched into the North American cannabis industry in my work at both Cassels Brock and CannaRoyalty, I have had the unique and fortunate opportunity of coming full circle on the topic. Over the past two years, I have been a part of this exciting and evolving space, working towards the mainstreaming of cannabis, while inching towards the goal of eradicating misconceptions and falsehoods associated with it. My corporate strategy and legal counsel role have helped me identify that the way forward in our industry is similar to what we have seen in other consumer-packaged goods industries – informed education regarding safe consumption, innovative product development, and thoughtful marketing and branding of great products. Further, I continue to closely watch the scientific research and development of cannabis advance, as I am optimistic that policy and social attitudes will continue to trend in a positive direction as more encouraging scientific data becomes available to the public.
That said, alcohol continues to be important in social situations in our lives. Can we imagine a birthday without champagne or a game night without beer? With the impending legalization in Canada and more jurisdictions across the world, I am very excited to see how that scenario might shift, with cannabis having a real possibility to become a substitute (or replace the second/third drink), to help people live more enriched, healthier and connected lives.
Today in both my professional and personal circles, I can see that more and more people are beginning to see cannabis as a positive influence in their lives. It has been rewarding to work towards and push the case of removing stigma around cannabis and highlight its many advantages – even if it’s in a small way.