This article looks at a few marketing issues related to the legalization of cannabis in Canada. The lesson also draws upon an August 21 article entitled Cannabis producers seek reprieve from federal fee after Ontario delays launch of retail stores, by Daniel Leblanc.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Entrepreneurship, marketing, branding

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What are the factors that give rise to a new industry?
Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Canada on October 17 this year. This lesson plan looks at how it will be marketed and sold.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  1. Ask students what they know about cannabis legalization in Canada.
  2. Write key concepts from their answers on the board.
  3. Using Think-Pair-Share, ask students who the competitors in the cannabis market are. Why do they classify these as competitors?
  4. Distribute both articles for reading.
  5. The cannabis industry is a brand new industry and is very much still in a state of flux. Ask students to define ‘state of flux’.
  6. What do they think is the impact of this state of flux on the industry itself? How does it impact other sectors, like food, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, tobacco and alcohol?
  7. Review the concepts of target markets with the class. Have each student write a profile of the target consumer for one of the following:
    1. Cannabis on its own
    2. Cannabis edibles
    3. Cannabis drinks
    4. Cannabis creams and lotions
  8. Group students by what they chose and have them share the demographic profile they prepared with the group. They should describe the common features and negotiate the features where there are differences.
  9. Have each group present to the class.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • In small groups, have students prepare a diagram on flip chart paper that outlines the risks (financial, legal, reputational) of entering into a relatively unknown market, like cannabis.  Have students do a walkabout to see what other groups have documented. Have a class discussion to review all the ideas.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

  • Students understand the complexities of starting a new industry from consumer, manufacturer and legal perspectives.

Confirming Activity:

  • Have students research and prepare a demographic profile of a typical consumer of cannabis.