City of Saint John to host international forum on cannabis
Saint John will host World Cannabis Congress in June, bringing together business leaders from around the world to discuss the opportunities from the legalization of cannabis.
The New Brunswick and federal governments have committed more than $250,000 to stage the event in the province.
Finance Minister Cathy Rogers says the speed at which weed is being embraced by business and government is a bit “mind-boggling,” even for her.
"I would not have thought, even five years ago, that I would be standing here doing this today," says Rogers. "The cannabis industry is a new and emerging industry, and this is part of our economic growth plan going forward."
World Cannabis Congress co-chair Derek Riedle says when it comes to cannabis, the culture shock is only beginning.
"As much as it's still a shock for us to see people in suits and government officials making announcements at cannabis events, we're going to see a lot more of it," says Riedle. "These are serious markets with serious revenue potential for private companies."
Government agencies forecast that in the years to come, 3,000 New Brunswickers will be employed in cannabis-related industries.
"The industry is changing,” says Stephen Lund, CEO of Opportunities New Brunswick. “The acceptability is changing. We're not advocating any more use, we're just saying from an economic development point of view this industry is going to happen somewhere, why not New Brunswick?"
With recreational marijuana to be legalized,industry players say government has no choice but to adapt, and quickly.
"The reality is is that innovation happens that fast, and if you don't embrace it early, it will bypass you," says Ray Gracewood of Organigram Inc.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.