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National Cannabis Business Coalition

National Cannabis Business Coalition

The expertise and experiences of Coalition members are a powerful resource for governments as they develop and revamp cannabis policies to serve the best interests of Canadians and our cannabis businesses.

Seizing the moment.

It’s been four years since Canada became the first major country to legalize cannabis. Since then, more than 50 other jurisdictions have followed in our footsteps. This is creating a budding international market where Canada can be the green standard, but it also means we are now at risk of losing our first mover advantage if we fail to harmonize regulations and lose out to the domestic illegal market.

Getting this right is in the best interest of all Canadians. In its first three years, the legal cannabis industry generated more than $43 billion of economic activity between October 2018 and the end of 2021. This includes supporting 98,000 jobs, accounting for some $25 billion of income for Canadians, and $15 billion in taxes being collected.

For most Canadians, these numbers fail to convey just how significant of an opportunity is before us. In context, the numbers mean Canada’s legal cannabis industry is already larger than our longstanding lumber industry ($10 billion per year) and about the same size as the dairy industry ($24 billion combined farming and processing per year). Cannabis however employs more people than these two other industries combined (28,000 lumber jobs; 43,400 dairy jobs).

Other businesses may also not consider themselves “cannabis,” and yet businesses in construction, transportation, packaging, legal, financial services, and many more all play important parts in the legal cannabis industry.

And consider that the legal cannabis industry is only getting started: export markets have the potential to grow substantially as more countries legalize and a great deal of work remains to fully displace the illegal market here at home. Making the most of this opportunity is where government policy comes into play.

Businesses risk becoming less economically competitive on a global scale without proper government regulation – including harmonization between jurisdictions – and equitable buy-in, on par with other industries. To make the most of this moment, the federal government and its provincial counterparts must work in lockstep with industry to introduce or revise various policy measures in areas such as taxation, health regulation and export promotion to help the cannabis legal sector thrive.

Governments should be doing everything within their power to promote opportunities for the sector, both at home and abroad. We must seize the moment.

The Coalition

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and its members in the National Cannabis Business Coalition aim to work collaboratively with all levels of government to help grow Canada’s cannabis industry and build upon our first-mover advantage as a global leader in regulating cannabis safely, effectively, and equitably.

With Canada as the first G7 economy to legalize cannabis for recreational use, all orders of government and industry must work together to revise or introduce policy levers to help cannabis businesses be economically competitive at home and abroad. Launched in June 2019, the National Cannabis Business Coalition is comprised of some of Canada’s leading cannabis companies and ancillary businesses with the common objective of advocating for public policies that foster a strong and competitive economic environment.

The expertise and experiences of Coalition members are a powerful resource for governments as they develop and revamp cannabis policies to serve the best interests of Canadians and our cannabis businesses.


Rachel Colic,
Chief Strategist, YCREATIVE

Nathan Mison,
President, DIPLOMAT Consulting

Key Areas of Focus

In October 2018, the Government of Canada legalized cannabis for recreational use, becoming the second country and the first developed economy to do so. Since then, the legal cannabis sector has become a major source of employment and economic activity.

The Coalition advocates for policies that facilitate the economic growth of the legal cannabis sector, while respecting the public health and safety objectives of the Cannabis Act.

Reviewing and improving Canada’s landmark cannabis legislation is a central area of focus for both business and government alike. Fundamental to the review is to understand and address assumptions that had been made prior to legalization against the realities that have been discovered and measured since. Doing so will ensure the legislation’s framework moving forward is able to best enable a thriving economic sector.

This will include reforms to marketing, promotional, packaging, and labelling restrictions, which will enable better public education about legal cannabis products and displace the illicit market. Investing in R&D to better understand the health implications of minor cannabinoids and standardizing lab testing and quality assurance to improve product consistency is also important topics to address.

The Coalition has also made a submission to Health Canada regarding the review, including several recommendations.

The economic impact of Canada’s legal cannabis industry is significant. With strong economic strategy that fosters continued growth, the economic benefit for all Canadians will become more robust.

To get there, the Coalition is working to ensure business and industry have strong representation at the table, including working towards developing a single national cannabis excise stamp across Canada, eliminating the excise tax on medical cannabis, and exploring opportunities for cannabis tourism and hospitality initiatives.

Canada has a significant first-mover advantage as the first G7 country to legalize cannabis. As other international partners now undertake their own legalization journeys, there is a significant opportunity for Canadian businesses and government to export products, services, and knowledge. The Coalition will be working with organizations such as Canadian Chambers abroad, Canadian embassies, and the Trade Commissioner Service to contribute to developing global opportunities for cannabis businesses.


In November 2022, the Coalition submitted its comments on Health Canada’s Cannabis Act review and proposed several recommendations to help businesses in the legal sector remain economically competitive in the long term and continue to displace the illicit market. Read more.

In October 2022, the Coalition participated in the federal government’s pre-budget submission process, stressing that there must be sustained collaboration between industry and all orders of government. Read more.

In October 2022, the Coalition commented on the Science Advisory Committee’s proposed regulatory framework for including cannabidiol (CBD) in non-prescription health products. Read more.

In October 2022, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce launched the National Cannabis Business Coalition, building on the successes of its predecessor the National Cannabis Working Group. The Coalition comprises businesses and associations from across the sector, including licenced producers, retailers, and ancillary businesses. Read more.

In September 2022, the Coalition released a statement applauding the comprehensive approach to the Cannabis Act Review but stressed that public health and safety concerns remained. Read more.

In June 2022, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce National Cannabis Business Coalition sponsored a research report, Analysis and Forecast of Global Medical Cannabis Markets, to provide an assessment of opportunities in both the medical and recreational cannabis markets around the world. Read more.

In April 2022, the Coalition provided feedback to the federal government on proposed regulatory changes impacting cannabis research and testing, and cannabis beverages. Read more.

In September 2021, the Coalition provided a response to Health Canada’s proposed amendments to the Cannabis Regulations restricting flavours in inhaled cannabis extracts. Read more.


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