Canadian cannabis firms are seeing a significant downturn in stock market value, but if you were looking to simply blame market forces for the industry’s cannabis business woes, you might be missing the forest for the trees.
According to a new report from The Guardian, cannabis consumers in the Great White North say that inconsistent, mid-grade cannabis sold with little-to-no branding has soured legal buyers, often pushing them back to the country’s still-thriving black market.
“The government’s pot is too expensive,” one Vancouver Reddit user wrote about the province’s legal weed. “The government doesn’t show you a picture of what you’re buying before you buy it, so you cannot be informed as a consumer. The government weed has been full of bugs, moldy, or too dry in some cases, and often takes too long to get there.”
Of course, when Canadian pot users and Reddit posters talk about “government pot,” they are referring to legal weed produced by privately-owned or publicly-traded cannabis companies that operate under strict government control and distribution. Since regulations do not allow the branding of legal weed, though, it is often hard for consumers to tell which products they are buying or consuming.
Adding more fuel to the mid-grade fire, Canada’s biggest market players — Canopy Growth, Tilray, Aurora, et. al — all debuted new product lines of discount bud sold at rock bottom prices. And while those half-ounce portions were a welcome sign that supply had finally begun to outplace demand, the cannabis itself has not been appealing to longtime consumers.
“The legal stuff is garbage,” a Vancouver Reddit user wrote.
But as big-firm legal weed companies continue to scrap plans for new greenhouses, and layoff employees by the hundreds, unlicensed illicit sellers have continued to rack up profits in the traditional marketplace. Still, like the dot-com bust in the 2000’s, some experts predict that the bigger, more resilient cannabis producers will simply wait out the downturns, acquire smaller brands, and move on with even more market share.
For now, though, the consensus among British Columbia cannabis consumers seems clear, and was summed up quite well by yet another Vancouver Reddit user: “Friends don’t let friends smoke government weed.”
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