JEDI recently hosted a plenary in Miramichi, NB on the controversial topic of Marijuana & Hemp Opportunities. This topic sparked many conversations related to hemp production and products, licensed production of medical marijuana and the legalization of marijuana that is predicted to happen in early summer of 2018.
During the plenary, the first panel featured Dr. Trevin Stratton who is a Strategic Advisor with BDO Canada, Kevin A. Cain who is the founder and one of four directors of Modern Hemp Innovations (MHI), Larry Rogers who is the Chief Operating Officer at Organigram and is in charge of all operations there, and Gerald Bear of Tobique First Nation and the Director of Tribal Releaf as the Facilitator of the panel.
The panel discussion consisted of a variety of questions which included:
- What is the difference between industrial Hemp and Medical / Recreational Marijuana?
- Kevin Cain answered: “There are two kinds of cannabis, the non-psychoactive cousin is used as industrial hemp while the other is used for recreational purposes.”
- When will legalization for recreational Marijuana take place?
- Larry Rogers answered: “Late June of 2018.”
- What is the anticipated economic impact of legalization?
- Dr. Trevin Stratton answered: “It is not just the impact of economic production, but all of retail that would be impacted by legalization.”
These questions opened the door to multiple questions from the audience.
Opportunities for Partnership was the next topic of discussion. Delphine Metallic, the Economic Development Manager for the Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government, provided insight from the community perspective of having medical marijuana businesses as part of our communities’ economy. Alongside Delphine was Kevin Coft, the CEO of Zenabis and International Herbs Medical Marijuana Ltd. Kevin shared his enthusiasm about their partnership with Listuguj and the opportunities for them to collaborate on this project. In addition, he provided multiple examples of opportunities that are available in relation to licensed marijuana production.
Modern Hemp Innovations Inc. (MHI) shared a presentation as well about Industrial Hemp Economic Development Opportunities. The presentation included:
- Benefits of joining the Industrial Hemp Cooperative
- Ancillary business opportunities once optimal hemp production is in place
- Hemp products made by industry
- Industrial hemp by material type
Our last presentation of the day was by the College Communautaire du Nouveau Brunswick (CCNB) which is offering training in Medical Marijuana Production. Michel Doucet, the Executive Director of the Continuing Education Department, provided information on the training in medical marijuana production and the skills needed to pursue work in that field.
Finally, a brainstorming session was held where participants discussed opportunities in the cannabis industry. It was a chance for everyone to share what they had learned and to generate their own ideas of what could be a possibility for potential hemp and marijuana businesses.
The topics discussed included:
- Medical marijuana
- Possibilities with editable items
- Access to capital
- Hemp cottage opportunities
- How marijuana/hemp can be used in Indigenous communities to make local businesses
- Indigenous Dispensaries
- Supply chains – how would the supply keep up with the customer demand
Here are some examples of a few of the discussion that took place:
- “Grow hemp in farmers fields, so if there are potato fields there one year, we would rotate the crop to grow industrial hemp the next year,” said the Hemp Cottage Opportunities Group.
- “Conduct research here to identify ways of means of handling the material,” said the Access to Capital group.
- The Edible table added, “Maybe approach cooking schools to set up different work-shops on how to cook with marijuana and what’s the range of THC that’s in it, all that information would be needed.”
- Finally the Supply Chain group said, “How can we use renewable energy to grow these crops?”
JEDI would like to thank everyone who attended the June 2017 plenary including those who came to share their knowledge on the industry and those who came to learn about it. Based on all of the positive feedback we received, we feel it was a great success! We'd also like to thank our financial supporters of this event: CCNB, BDO Canada and our funders: the Government of Canada and the Government of New Brunswick.