Former Canopy CEO Bruce Linton: Canada's Cannabis 2.0  'Turned Out Way Better Than I Expected'

October 17, 2019

Canada's Cannabis 2.0 kicked off 365 days after recreational marijuana was legalized in the Great White North. Health Canada, the governing body regulating cannabis sales, will now start accepting applications from companies looking to produce edibles, beverages, and vape products. Bruce Linton, co-founder and former CEO of Canopy Growth, joined Cheddar, to discuss the milestone.

"It turned out way better than I expected, which is a bit odd for someone to say who was running the leader in sort of delivering," Linton said of the initial roll out. "I say that because politics expect things to happen quickly, and it had to happen quickly."

"Now at the one year anniversary, people go to stores, they buy products. You know what they want? More different products. Overall, I'd score it probably about an 83 percent success."

Linton is hopeful that Canada's Cannabis 2.0 will help defeat the black market, which according to Deloitte is estimated at $5 billion to $7 billion, despite legalization. "The illicit market does best because they're most convenient, and they have cheap products. What's happening now is that the product is more available, stores are opening more. On January 1st, you'll start to see really advanced products."

After the outbreak of vaping-related illnesses in the U.S., Linton believes regulated, safe products are more important than ever.

"When people go to stores they can buy vapes that are tested not to contain Vitamin E or pesticides or things like that. They'll be able to buy beverages."

While the initial legalization efforts featured huge challenges like supply shortages, licensing slowdowns, expensive products, and disappointing sales numbers, Linton predicts the next year will be much smoother.

"I would bet by the time we get to Oct. 17, 2020 we will see some companies doing like a billion dollars in revenue in Canada because they'll actually have the products people want," he said. "From a stock perspective it's going to make you be a bit more of a picker than a basket-filler, but the chance for a ride up are quite good."

But what comes after Canada's Cannabis 2.0? Well, 3.0 of course. Linton offered his own explanation of the next phase.

"3.0 is when companies start reading data. Which is what happens when you have clinical trials. If some companies can read data that says this combination of ingredients causes you to sleep for seven hours uninterrupted, that starts to compete with over-the-counter and some pharmaceutical products."

Linton didn't stop there.

"4.0 is when you start doing research, when you start saying with rare cannabinoids and stem cells and how they interact, can we make curative products? Can we shrink a brain tumor?" he speculated. "I think 4.0 is when you move to that curative state, 3.0 is when you move to help grandma and grandpa or me sleep better, and 2.0 is when you have better products available."

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