Canada is in the middle of a crisis. Just days after recreational marijuana use became legal, supplies of cannabis are running out faster than had been expected. A greater number of users as well as a dearth of retail outlets (due to a long sales license process) are contributors to this problem. I have a suggestion for Ottawa: NAFTA
The historical North American Free Trade Agreement, signed by Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., has been in effect for nearly twenty-five years. It was used to limit tariffs placed on the goods of the three nations. Canada should ask its southern neighbors to begin exporting cannabis to their country. I’m sure the U.S. states that have legalized marijuana (nine to date) could supply product for the nation. Mexico could as well. And who knows? Wages for farm workers in both countries might increase. And our maple syrup-sucking partner will receive monetary benefits as well in the form of sales tax. But why stop there? Here are a couple of other ideas I’ve had to bring in the dollars (Canadian or otherwise) from the toke-loving citizens of the North.
Kind of like cuisine or wine tours only the tourists here will sample the cannabis specialties of an area. On the tour, they can see how a weed brand compares either when smoking or ingesting it. They can even compare the “terroir” between the different areas that the marijuana is grown. For example, does New Brunswick cannabis have a more peaty taste than one grown in Alberta? If France legalizes pot, “herbes de Provence” will take on a whole new meaning.
Celebrity Weed Endorsements
In England, a product may be given what’s known as a Royal Warrant of Appointment. Basically, it’s an endorsement from the Queen. Look at a box of Twinings Tea, and you will read the words “By appointment to her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.” Why not do this using celebrity appointments? For musicians, Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Paul McCartney spring to mind. With actors, there’s Woody Harrelson, Seth Rogen, Cheech Marin, and Frances McDormand. With sports figures, you would obviously have to go the retired route. No current professional athlete will risk losing endorsement money, so how about Bill Lee, Warren Sapp, or Michael Phelps? Want to feel as rich and successful as a business legend? Buy the marijuana Richard Branson favors and get high when you are a mile high (yes, that’s bad Virgin Airlines joke).
The other day, I heard an eighth grade boy talking about the “4/20 holiday” like it was the coolest thing around. So if cannabis is going to continue to become legal in the United States and around the world, then we should use the situation to find ways to make the drug more average, less prestigious. It might help us not only make a profit in the form of badly needed taxes, but also cause the drug to lose its luster.