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(OTTAWA) – September 24, 2019 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s National Cannabis Working Group is challenging federal political parties on the campaign trail to embrace the once-in-a-lifetime economic opportunity Canada has as the first developed country to legalize recreational cannabis.

The Canadian Chamber believes this opportunity will provide long-term benefit to Canadians in all parts of the country, including rural and smaller communities, by creating many new, high quality jobs. Addressing key challenges preventing the industry’s growth, at home and abroad, should therefore be a priority for all governments in Canada.

“Rarely, if ever, do countries get a head start on new industry like this,” said Nathan Mison, Vice President of Government and Stakeholder Relations for Fire & Flower and Co-Chair of the Working Group. “If we don’t want to squander our first-mover advantage in what is going to be a massive global industry, all of our governments must work with us to improve well-intentioned but uneven policies that are impeding new job growth and investment. And we need to move quickly.” 

Over the next several weeks, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Fire & Flower co., one of Canada’s leading cannabis retailers, will be conducting a series of roundtables across Canada to discuss what is required to unlock Canada’s cannabis opportunity.

The events will be held in partnership with local and provincial chambers of commerce and involving key decision-makers and industry players to help develop key cannabis policy recommendations for Canada’s next federal government.

Some of the key issues for the cannabis industry include:

·       Reducing the cost and complexity of a challenging regulatory environment

·       Eliminating taxes on medical cannabis and providing the same tax treatment as prescription medications

·       Re-evaluating the excessively restrictive marketing and branding rules that hinder the ability to attract consumers away from illegal markets

·       Eliminating interprovincial trade and regulatory differences impacting producers, distributors and retailers

·       Positioning Canada to export its cannabis products, services and expertise to the world

“It’s curious that as all parties crisscross the country promising economic growth, none of them are focusing on the potential of Canada’s new cannabis sector to generate thousands and thousands of new, high-paying jobs across the entire country,” said Ryan Greer, Senior Director and Cannabis Policy Lead at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Co-Chair of the Working Group. “The roundtables will emphasize the scale of the global opportunity if we get our policies right, and start to set out a path to start doing just that.”

Since its launch in June, the National Cannabis Working Group has grown from a just over a dozen to more than 60 companies from all parts of this new industry. Working Group members have a shared interested of improving the growth and competitiveness of the Canadian cannabis sector while helping governments achieve their health and safety objectives.

For information on attending the Unlocking Canada’s Cannabis Opportunity roundtable series please visit http://www.chamber.ca/events/national-cannabis-roundtable-series/

The Voice of Canadian Business

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is Canada’s largest and most representative business association, which speaks with one unified voice on behalf of nearly a quarter million businesses. The Chamber’s job is to help Canadian businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions grow their business. We do this by helping them connect to each other, new opportunities, providing essential business services, and influencing government policy on their behalf. For more information visit www.Chamber.ca or follow us @CdnChamberofCom.

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For more information, please contact:

Phil Taylor
Senior Director, Strategic Communications and Public Affairs
ptaylor@chamber.ca (preferred and fastest response time)
613.238.4000 (2231)