With a medical and recreational marijuana industry about to fly, there’s a whole lot of buzz going on. Globally-competitive, lucrative sectors and commercial opportunities are predicted to grow like a weed!
Cannabusiness is set to be smoking – forecasts of the medical marijuana market predict US$31 billion in annual sales by 2021. A Deloitte study suggests recreational marijuana sales alone in Canada could be as high as $8.7 billion per year.
Who consumes marijuana and the many ways it can be used is about to be reinvented. You only have to look to the U.S. where cannabis is legal to see the range of pot-abilities for cannabis use and consumption – edibles are a huge success with everything from brownies and beer to beef jerky and candy infused with pot. The pending Cannabis Act provides for edibles to be allowed recreationally in Canada by 2019.
Canadian companies are busy developing pills, inhalers and creams to compete with the pharmaceutical giants to treat medical conditions, including anxiety and chronic pain to childhood epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.
From pills to drinks to creams, cannabis is certainly looking to go mainstream, and even part of the luxe beauty experience. Ste. Anne’s Spa in Grafton, Ont., will be offering hemp-infused herbal remedies in a new skincare line and as part of their spa package. Massage products will be made with the company’s own hemp CBD products and “will include an aromatherapy element to induce and even deeper level of relaxation,” says spa director Natalie Koshowski.
Their weedy wonders include lotions, balms, body butters and oils that are infused with CBD extracted from hemp – there are no psychogenic effects.
The positive therapeutic powers of the cannabis plant extracts like CBD are renowned, yet sadly its use is highly stigmatized, says Ste. Anne’s Spa owner Jim Corcoran. “More people worldwide view it as socially acceptable and medically important.”
Corcoran’s company is also one of the first to cover medical marijuana for qualifying employees through their health benefits plans for issues including chronic pain, depression and anxiety. Loblaws was the first large Canadian employer to cover medicinal pot for employees, limited to treating the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and the side-effects of chemotherapy for cancer patients. Some progressive insurers have added medical marijuana as a regular medicine to group benefits plans, including Sun Life Financial, a provider of health benefits coverage to one in six Canadians.
Corcoran says that covering medical marijuana for his staff gets them back to work sooner, staying at work, and contributes to their overall wellness and productivity.
But some HR officials worry about impairment at work and safety issues as well as a decrease in attendance and productivity. Even when accommodating medicinal use, there is no accommodation for impairment in the workplace, says Alison McMahon, owner of Cannabis at Work which educates employers and helps them comply with changing legislation.
“We are seeing more of a trend towards offering coverage for medical marijuana than we have ever before,” says the Edmonton-based cannabis expert at cannabisatwork.com. “Employers have a duty to accommodate medical cannabis to the point of undue hardship and they also have to restrict recreational cannabis in the workplace in the same way they would restrict alcohol.”
Employers who are worried represent more of a lack of knowledge about cannabis, and about the solutions they can put in place in the workplace, says McMahon, adding that cannabis use is in workplaces today and this is not brand new.
(Article originally published @ Toronto Sun)