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Canada - Critical Vote for Recreational Cannabis

This Thursday there will be an all important Senate vote - the last big hurdle to federal legalization. If it passes, I suspect everything will roll out rather quickly.

I have a Canadian developing an app to drive more traffic to local dispensaries. She is unfortunately playing a frustrating waiting game. She says:

"As I know you are aware, there are considerable design and coding hours that go into developing a mobile application. I have to be sure that the government isn’t going to ban it as soon as it launches. There are still a lot of unknowns as far as rules and regs go and it appears that there will be federal rules as well as provincial rules governing how cannabis can be marketed. Most ancillary businesses are able to proceed pre-legalization but because my app is a part of marketing & advertising it sits in a grey area that is constantly changing because the government really doesn’t know what the hell it is doing. :slight_smile: "

If anyone has some insight I can pass along to her, I would appreciate it!

Here’s a short article if you’re interested:

@DispensaryOwners @growopowners @ProcessorOwners @mastergrowers @ServiceProviders @Investors

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Hi Alex,

Yes it has been a frustrating game at that. One business can do this, and the others have to do that. It’s a juggling act from MMJ to CBD, and glass and advertising is a whole other challenge. So Canadian business will have different legalities then US in some ways. As I can board some ancillary businesses here in the US, I am not sure how or if we have the abilities to board Canadian businesses in this arena. Actually, I had two businesses doing the same thing here in US and they couldn’t get boarded.

I have several accounts trying to hold on. PayPal and Stripe will shut them down too. I am able to board Debit Only MMJ Stores and delivery, CBD online and store front. There are more and more banks opening up to this, but I am afraid it will take a little longer. The last thing I can do is try offshore bank, because of the cost 7.95% some don’t want to go that direction.

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I have a bank that will look at it, if you have a website?

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Hey @tammy thanks for reaching out! She doesn’t have a website and doesn’t want to spend time and energy developing her app idea if it will just be shut down by the time legislation rolls out. That’s why she needs to see what the rules are before she develops.

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Yes, I agree most do not walk it all the way through. I have other business types that don’t either, and get stopped dead in their tracks. Even if “rules” applied at this time, no guarantee.

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Would she benefit from a copy of the actual law?

Here are some other articles I came across this morning:

http://marijuanaretailreport.com/canada-could-fully-ban-cannabis-marketing-branding/

I feel her pain. There are many frustrations associated with Bill C-45 And I promise she isn’t alone in her uncertainty. But stick to her guns and plan her business in a way where it can grow with the laws. Are they to restrictive for your specific model? Then find a place to get the foot in the door and wait. The laws will change and this will be a much more liberal market in 10 years.
Good luck!

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Thanks @bryan.eden! I will send it over to see if she can glean any more good information she may not be privy to!

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Since certain Provinces are not even allowing Dispensaries, her customer base would be limited I’d think. Unless that changes as soon as they realize how popular this plant is.

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Are you referring to different provinces having different distribution models?
Some will have only government ran dispensaries, some only private, other a mixture of the two. Almost, if not all provinces will control the distribution network through a central network and most will be controlling the online sales and will be banning private ecommerce sales. Most provinces just took their existing liquor distribution models and essentially just added Cannabis to the list.
Licensed Producers are federally regulated, dispensaries are regulated by the province as long as they meet local bylaws.
I know there were rumours a while ago about certain provinces considering going against federal legalisation (as is their right), but governments have changed and so has opinion.

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A brilliant article for clarification:

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To clarify, if her app is to push consumers to dispensaries and dispensaries aren’t allowed in Ontario, her app wouldn’t be very useful there. That’s a large demographic to not have as possible customers.

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ONTARIO
Age of legal consumption: 19+
Where to buy: Government-operated storefronts and online sales
Grow your own?: Up to four plants
Where to smoke?: Only on private property, subject to landlord restrictions
Other notes: 40 cannabis stores will be open by July 2018, 80 by 2019 and 150 by 2020

They’re not private stores, but it could be a system she could develop into. And I would suggest that she does as there will be a large number of government ran stores. I know we are running our marketing model based on that.

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Loving the insight here, thanks again!

She is in BC but I’m sure her app wouldn’t be specific to just BC.

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Some general thoughts on app development… It’s partly being very clear about what the code is expected to do and partly being psychic about what the market is expected to do. If you can combine the two, you have a winner.

What is the code expected to do? Keep that clear, clean and straightforward. Focused on the logic.
What is the market expected to do? What are the factors? Plan to the factors, not the details.

Specific to the app…

First, how is the app intended to work? “Drive traffic” is pretty generic. Is it a search-type app? Is is a locator-beacon based app? Special of the week ads? Intended to get people to “go there”?

Second, try it with a different niche business - or make it flexible that the user can choose what business or what type of business to visit. That will ensure that the code structures and options are working. Then, once the regulations are sorted out, it will be ready to go.

Third, there will always be a ‘grey area’ around marketing regulated products - whether the product is wine or cannabis. Part of the problem is not wanting companies to market adult-use products in a way that is appealing to children. Part of the problem is how to not market to children.

Fourth, what are the particular regulations that may or may not finally be passed? What do they reference? What are the points of contention? How does the app address the concerns? If the app can address the main points of contention – not the particulars – there’s a better chance for success.

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If she’s in BC she may be good-to-go. I hope so. I love hearing about these kinds of successes. Keep us posted. I’ll do any social media sharing pro-bono to help her get going :slight_smile:

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CONGRATS CANADA! One step closer!

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I had a hard time falling asleep I was so giddy about it.

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