Stocks soared and stoners cheered when Canada legalised cannabis in 2018. Then came a real downer. Growers went bust, and still the black market thrived. What happened?
The lights shone more brightly than anything I’d ever seen. One million blinding watts strafed across the leaves of countless cannabis plants that peeled off in neat rows in every direction. The warehouse was as pristine as a pharmaceutical facility, and as we strode around in crisp white nylon overalls and box-fresh wellies, the atmosphere was surreal – interstellar, almost: – it felt as if we were on a mission to Mars. It was definitely a glimpse of the future.
It was 2017 and I had been invited to visit this legal medical cannabis “grow” in the town of Gatineau, near Ottawa. I was in Canada after writing a paper for the drug-law reform thinktank Volteface
Were cannabis activists’ hopes of a regulated cannabis market just a pipe dream?
Big, shiny grow facilities cost C$20m or C$30m to build and grew loads of cannabis – but there was nowhere to sell it