CEO and Co-Founder Keenan Pascal shares what he’s looking forward to in the new legal Canadian cannabis market.
As one of the founders of Token Naturals, an independent Canadian cannabis company focused on extraction and product development in the new legal market, I’ve been looking forward to the future. As we look at the upcoming marketplace, even the most conservative estimates and predictions showcase the depth of opportunity. As a market participant and as someone who is going to enjoy being a consumer in that market, I think this is an exciting time.
The opportunity for the economy
The numbers speak for themselves. Even the most conservative estimates show that the legalization of cannabis will have a positive effect on the Canadian economy. What’s even more exciting than that is the way in which the Canadian cannabis market is changing. Although it has been evolving over the past years under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), with the declaration of legalized recreational use the market is now entering a new phase of maturity. The industry, the consumers, and the investors are moving from a system of fast and loose cash transactions to a more structured and disciplined approach that holds the promise of longevity and stabilization. We will continue to see more established and experienced stakeholders from all different industries enter the market, bringing their innovations and entrepreneurial spirit. It’s likely we will see an expanse of mergers and acquisitions continue. It is my hope that we find a balance and understanding between large and small industry players, as I believe selection is empowering for customers and necessary for responsible business. Over the next few years, the Canadian cannabis industry will evolve the Canadian economy as a whole.
The opportunity for all Canadians
This new legal cannabis market presents an opportunity for Canadians across the board. As we form this new market, we are able to be aware of pushing for equal representation from visible minorities, Indigenous Peoples, and women.
It’s our responsibility to observe the opportunity that forming a new(ly legal) industry in 2018 brings to traditionally underrepresented populations. And so far, we are seeing that diversity. I enjoy going into industry meetings because I never know who is going to sit down across from me at the table. Canadians of all shapes and sizes are not afraid to throw their hat into the ring, because there is no defined (or stereotypical) image of a “Cannabis Business Person”. Cannabis is going to come of age in a time where social opinions are moving towards diversity. It’s important we honour this blank canvas as the industry fully legitimizes, and that we don’t allow the space to fall victim to traditional biases.
We’re conscious of doing our part to contribute to diversity, and this point is particularly important to Token as our team is spread across gender, race, and sexual orientations. That allows us internally to hear varied perspectives – we aren’t just working in an echo chamber of homogenous opinions.
The opportunity for every community
Each community in the country has an opportunity to embrace the coming change. The ones that will benefit the most will be those that are open-minded and seek to educate themselves and their members. While the opportunity for positive outcomes is plentiful, they must also look to proactively address the risks associated with the cannabis industry. The communities that utilize education for risk management will see the greatest success with this new resource. The new Canadian cannabis market can provide new jobs across the country and legitimize an existing industry that funds the lives and livelihoods of many citizens, allowing them to contribute fully to their community.
The opportunity for Token Naturals
Token has entered the market with a lack of preconceived notions. We don’t believe there is an established way that things “should be” happening, and because of that, we’ve found – and will continue to find – opportunities that would have gone otherwise unnoticed. We made a point of building out a team, and a business model, that is adaptable and light. It’s our agility that poises us to take advantage of opportunity.
Token, and our country, can now seize the opportunity that legalization brings to improve the lifestyles of Canadians. The way I see it, that’s pretty exciting.