I've worked on both the illegal and legal side of the Canadian cannabis trade (production, processing, retail stores, clinics, expert testimonials, etc...) for 10+ years. The trade/"legalization" is a complete mess and it's anyone's guess as to what the future might hold. Ask me anything!

The Last Canadian
Jan 25, 2018

I've worked on both the illegal and legal side of the Canadian cannabis trade (production, processing, retail stores, clinics, expert testimonials, etc...) for 10+ years. The trade/"legalization" is a complete mess and it's anyone's guess as to what the future might hold.In short, my experience in the trade started as a patient dealing with chronic pain related health issues. Following the receipt of my first personal production license in 2013, I left my position with TD Canada Trust (that I had held for nearly 5 years) and started my own cannabis consulting company. I was successful in my application for a business grant from the province of Ontario and, as a result of that opportunity, have "worn several hats" getting experience/first-hand knowledge of every facet of the cannabis trade. I've seen the good, the bad and believe that true free market capitalism can solve the current problems in the cannabis trade.ASK ME ANYTHING!

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Does one need to maintain cannabis medication even after the symptoms of the illness are alleviated?

Jan 31, 7:07AM EST0

What government laws should be legislated to improve the cannabis trading industry?

Jan 30, 7:07AM EST0

In your opinion, is it really possible to have a "true, free market capitalism" in the cannabis trade?

Jan 29, 10:11PM EST0

What were your personal struggles when you started in the cannabis trade?

Jan 29, 5:44AM EST0

With the current cannabis trade policies in your country, do you believe that there is still hope in fixing the "mess" in the legalization system of cannabis trade?

Jan 26, 9:23PM EST0

How was the Cannabis Industry back then compared to how it is now in your country?

Jan 25, 1:54PM EST0

We just did what we wanted! Oh god, it was so easy and if you had a "medical license" protecting your address the police couldn't do anything. Some places didn't have their standards in the gutter and it's unfortunate that they've been thrown under the bus or unable to do their thing. A few places still run that way, but now the government is coming for their share of the cash and nothing will stop them in their pursuit. Nothing has changed. It's still gangsters vs gangsters. Except one of the gangsters wears suits and call themselves "politicians".

Jan 25, 2:24PM EST0

When are you coming back home? ;)

Jan 25, 1:50PM EST0

When I find a job (in any trade) so that I could pay for somewhere to live with my dogs or when I save enough money to re-do my Winnebago so I could have something to live out of if/when I do come back. Either that or I manage to hold out long enough to make it big out here! I miss you like a brother and feel blessed to count you as a friend. I won't give up and I'm trying to be less of a negative twat every day.

Jan 25, 2:17PM EST0

Would you say there is actually a considerable amount of abuse instances of marijuana in your country?

Jan 25, 1:49PM EST0

Yes, because our youth use of cannabis is a real issue that only gets further compounded by the amount of cannabis that's tainted with fentanyl available on the illicit market (soon to be the only steam the youth demographic have access too, making it even more dangerous).As for adults, I don't care. I'm a libertarian and I have little patience for those who don't want to work hard. You want to use whatever drugs and waste your life away? Fine. I just want welfare to not exist at all so good, hard-working people aren't supporting losers. Let weak addicts ruin their lives and kill themselves. I don't care. I care about youth who still have a chance and people who understand that I am a compassionate person making an argument that needs to be made or we'll all go down by pretending ourselves about the reality at hand. Tough love is the way to go.

Jan 25, 2:21PM EST0

For operators what are the taxes and licenses involved in your country?

Jan 25, 12:30PM EST0

I don't know exactly what you're implying by operators. If you mean licensed producers, I haven't seen one not registered as a corporation. To the best of my knowledge, the corporate tax rate in Canada is 15%. However, Canada is one of the most over-taxed countries in the world so businesses are running away from us rapidly. We've got a bit of an edge having got on the legalization bus earlier than America, but once they do the same we will be at a serious competitive disadvantage within 5 years.

Jan 25, 4:36PM EST0

We have a carbon tax, government-mandated minimum wages and it's just getting worse the longer the liberals are in charge. Once the conservatives get back in power, things will start to get better and I submit they'll do a better job with regulation (especially in a free market sense).

Jan 25, 4:37PM EST0

What is Canada's regulations on cannabis? What do you think are the areas that needs to be improved or changed?

Jan 25, 9:38AM EST0

Our medical regulations are called the ACMPR act and our recreational regulations are referred to as bill C-45. We also have provincial/territorial regulations that vary from province to province and from territory to territory. I'm sorry - I haven't memorized their names... yet!The biggest thing that needs to be improved is for the government to stay out of the business. Much like marriage or alcohol sales, nothing the government ever gets involved in goes very well. I believe in conservatism and that the free market should determine who fails or succeeds. Arbitrary rules like only being able to grow up to 4 plants (they were trying to limit them to be no taller than 1 metre) or excessive/unneeded security regulations disenable businesses from being able to innovate. Don't even get me started on outdoor production isn't legal! We need something akin the to the American 2nd amendment, stand your ground and castle laws in Canada.If you know anything about how laws are passed in Canada we also have a SERIOUS problem in that laws have to go through 3 reading in parliament, 3 readings in the Senate and then are sent for royal assent. This is not true for our cannabis regulations. The law says that the regulations regarding security/logistics/everything you'd expect to read in a law as far as rules are all determined by the "guidelines" set forth by Health Canada. Take security, for example, we used to need level 4 security vaults. To the best of my knowledge, the going standard is now a level 7 at a minimum because "Health Canada said so". There are several morally and ethically corrupt individuals, like Christopher Rose and David Pellman, working at the Office of Medical Cannabis that need to be dismissed in order for a new positive culture to be moved forward. Right now it's just a rogue entity choosing favourites, doing the absolute minimal at best with everything and going unchecked. 

Jan 25, 5:05PM EST0

You mentioned you've worked illegally on the cannabis trade, how was it then? How do you procure the product and how did you sell them?

Jan 25, 6:24AM EST0

I'm going to do this point form:- Get one criminal lawyer in your local area on retainer and one of a dozen or so cannabis expert lawyers (the expert would work through the one close to you in a worst case scenario to reduce travel costs)- Rent a location (apartment, house or whatever)- Attach 4 legal personal medical production licenses to said location (10 grams per day used to be much easier to acquire so with 4 licenses you could grow up to 196 plants indoors total)- Establish a network of wholesale clients (dealers, dispensaries and/or wholesale processors)- Acquire vacuum sealing/packing equipment- Grow, harvest, process, package, send via courier and repeatTransactions were done in cash, in kind for other product or using BitCoin. BitCoin was a niche thing that was only used by intelligent people in the black market (few and far between). There's a lot of dirtbag/stereotypical low aspiring trash on the illicit side of the cannabis trade. They can barely count, let alone understand the purpose of cryptocurrency.Following those steps, it was very difficult for police to ever harvest enough to complete an investigation.

Jan 25, 4:54PM EST0

How much on the average is the monthly income of a cannabis trader or operator?

Jan 25, 1:28AM EST0

Production staff make anywhere from 35 - 50 K annually for starting positions and production management make anywhere from 70 - 120K annually.Traders (I think you mean brokers) for larger LPs or soon to be retailers that buy stock make anywhere from 45 - 90 K annually.

Jan 25, 2:26PM EST0

Do you think this income will continue to grow or will it eventually flatten out due to competion? What is your prediction?

Jan 28, 10:37AM EST0

You say that the legalization of the cannabis is a complete mess, in what sense and in what aspect?

Jan 24, 5:16PM EST0

In short, regulations are driving a wedge between the two sides of the trade (illicit and licit). It's been a cat and mouse game for 18+ years with the government. Some people take a "we'll just play in the pond while it gets made" and others take a "we made this pond, we'll do things that make sense/pay taxes/fall under practical regulations, but it's we the people who call the shots - so don't forget who pays your cheque and votes you in".Right now, some ethical/altruistic free market capitalist people in the grey are going over to the legal side to "wage war" against unethical/inconsiderate venture market capitalists. Hopefully the good guys win? Your guess is as good as mine.As for the criminals and even some of the "not as bad" illegal retailers - they're doing their thing, stomping their feet and hoping that they can keep doing that indefinitely without the police eventually coming for them. The charges (under the new legislation) for operating outside of any legal framework are going up from 4 to 14 years. Do you think the police are just going to stand by when they're preparing that kind of legislation?

Jan 25, 4:42PM EST0

How did you start out in this industry? Can you share to us the first time you were introduced to cannabis?

Jan 24, 3:04PM EST0

I was working for TD Canada Trust for 5 years. My quality of life had been completely removed by intense migraines and chronic pain throughout my body's right side. My doctor eventually said, "we've tried enough conventional therapies, let's try cannabis". It didn't "just work", but over the years I've fine-tuned its use as a medication for my personal health. Honestly, while cannabis has been a catalyst, proper diet, regular exercise and Positive Mental Actualization/Talk Therapy has helped more. I still don't feel I would be alive without cannabis. I'm just cautious to tout it as a miracle and am more reserved in that sense. I've seen people with the hope that cannabis could save their life, pass away. I'm just saying we need to all improve upon ourselves to get to the truth of cannabis medical potential and always hold the realities of being a patient in the highest regard. If you can't do that, go make pizza or something. There are lots of trades that don't have to be as connected or considerate to their customer as the cannabis trade does. Some people don't belong and that's okay.As for my first time using cannabis, I'm ashamed to admit that I was 16. It was after a school exam in January. I didn't find that I got "high" (a lot of people report that and I don't know why), but I faked it to "be cool". I don't want to be perceived as "preachy", but I regret not making more of the opportunity to be a kid when I was a kid. What should a kid think about drugs or modern social issues? Nothing! They should care about things like riding bikes and hopefully a few of the things we try to impart to them at school. I hope youth can learn from my mistake and realize that there is a time and a place for everything... and it's called college! Okay, I'm teasing with the college comment. I'm fun loving but do actually hold a more conservative view that it should be when your brain has fully developed after the age of 25.

Jan 25, 2:43PM EST0

How does one get a production license or permit for this? And how easy is it to get one?

Jan 24, 9:14AM EST0

Commercial: You apply to Health Canada, go through a rigorous security screening processing, receive a letter to build (or have your tentative building inspected), once you're operational to their satisfaction they give you a "production license", you then grow to have stock/meet HC's quality standards and then if you've passed everything you receive a license to sell to patients (the assumption is that the recreational process will be much the same).Personal: You go to a doctor, they assess you for a prescription, if you get one you mail it into Health Canada, you wait to receive a permit telling you how much you can grow and under what conditions (indoor, outdoor or indoor/outdoors). The process takes anywhere from 2 to 6 months currently. Some people just grow right away and hire a lawyer to tell any prudish/corrupt police to politely "back off" because there is already legal precedent of someone doing that, getting busted, getting their papers after the bust and going to court only to have the whole thing dismissed by the judge for being a waste of tax dollars.

Jan 25, 2:14PM EST0

How has this affected your professional life? And do you think you will be staying in this industry for good? Why or why not?

Jan 24, 4:53AM EST0

It's made it much harder to overcome objections in and outside of the trade due to being stereotyped. I will stay in the trade as long as I can because it's something I genuinely love. At the same time, I'm getting old and want to have children. I'll work in any trade that makes sense and keep one foot in the cannabis trade somehow. I love it too much for my own good. I'd also like to maybe combine some of my altruistic views as a Christian/Rasta into a cannabis-related charity some day. Who knows.

Jan 25, 2:46PM EST0

What are the problems or issues you think you will encounter in this industry?

Jan 25, 7:59PM EST0

Are there ways or tips on preserving cannabis?

Jan 24, 3:53AM EST0

Absolutely! Boveda packs are the best means of keeping the RH (relative humidity) in your containers around 65% for optimal cannabis storage. Glass containers are preferable to anything else. Light also degrades THC so storage in a dark place or box is ideal as well.

Jan 25, 2:08PM EST0

What are the daily challenges faced by this business?

Jan 23, 6:56PM EST0

I'll just list the three biggest:- Regulatory changes- Sanitation of operations for production and processing- Capital issues related to either investing or logistics via hesitant FIAT institutions

Jan 25, 2:03PM EST0

According to you, is this business worthy to invest in?

Jan 28, 3:41AM EST0

Being in this industry for the past 10+ years, what have you learned/surprised/intrigued you the most?

Jan 23, 3:37PM EST0

Seeing people who were about to die not die or seeing people who were about to die, have a quality of life before their passing. I have the signature of a patient, who would not be alive today without cannabis, tattooed on my left wrist. It reminds me of why I'm still alive and what the purpose of this trade is.

Jan 25, 1:51PM EST0

With the surrounding stigma on marijuana,how did your family react to this when they found out? How about your friends? How did you handle it?

Jan 23, 9:13AM EST0

My friends initially didn't care because they were all cannabis users. When it became a bigger part of my life and I was fired/had to try to lead a precedent-setting court challenge - the fairweather friends dropped off real fast. At first, I was sad, but then I went through that life lesson that it's better to have a few people around who matter than a bunch of people who don't.My parents didn't want me to go down this road, but their concern always came from a good place of wanting me to "make something of myself". Over 10 years we've worked out our relationship and they just want me to find my long-term place in the trade to be happy doing what I do, buy a house, get married and have 8+ kids. I'd like to have 14.Oh yeah! How could I leave this out? I found God through Rasta and travelled to Jamaica for a while to study. That helped a lot and put me in touch with good people that impacted me for the better. I live my life in service to H.I.M. God is good. Bless and give thanks. In the name of Jah Rastafari!

Jan 25, 2:00PM EST0
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