Nova Scotia

Pot forum draws businesspeople, municipal officials

Marijuana will be legalized in Canada next July 1 but how that will play out in practical terms is still a mystery to many, including municipalities and businesses.

'There's so much opportunity to grow,' said one attendee hoping to break into the business

The Atlantic Cannabis Forum attracted about 100 people over two days. (Joe Mahoney/Canadian Press)

Marijuana will be legalized in Canada next July 1, but how that will play out in practical terms is still a mystery to many, including municipalities and businesses.

About 100 people attended the two-day Atlantic Cannabis Forum Wednesday and Thursday, staged by the Cape Breton Partnership, hoping for some answers.

The agenda covered a spectrum of topics, including social policy, acceptable places for using cannabis and the projected immense gap in the supply of pot once it's legalized. 

New products

Former premier Darrell Dexter, now vice-chair of consulting firm Global Public Affairs, spoke at the gathering.

"There are so many different products that are going to come on the market," said Dexter. "They range from standard cannabis products right through to veterinary products to cosmetic products to ointments."

Global Public Affairs has been researching economic ventures and the potential for growth in preparation for the legalization of marijuana.

Dexter said much of the development will be related to pain relief, as there's growing evidence that cannabidiol oil — a non-psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant — provides considerable pain relief. 

Economic opportunity

Port Hawkesbury mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton says she attended the forum to gather information to take back to her municipality. 

"Part of the reason for coming is to, I guess, look at it from a regional perspective and an economic perspective as well, and also a perspective of health and wellness of our communities and what that might entail," said Chisholm-Beaton. 

John Gatza is looking for business opportunties in the legal pot world. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

John Gatza saw the forum as a chance to learn about developing a new career. 

"There's so much opportunity to grow in the business," said Gatza, who currently runs a logging and lumber company in River Ryan. 

He sees the growth and production of cannabis as a very real next step for his company. 

"A small production facility would be nice, maybe a storefront, like a dispensary kind of a thing," said Gatza. 

Dexter sees lots of growth opportunities for Nova Scotia.

"This is a clear field. If you can imagine it, you can probably do it," he said.

now