And that could backfire on Canada, largely because of its proximity to western New York.
“There is great potential for Buffalo Niagara,” said Cousineau. “If Canada is this strict, you have a great economic opportunity.”
When Canada unleashed the cannabis industry, “it was like the government gave you a license to print money,” Smitherman said. Companies invested heavily in new equipment and infrastructure, including greenhouses.
Now, “a lot of these greenhouses are up for sale because we overshot,” said Smitherman.
Part of the problem, he said, is that Canadian regulator Health Canada has not attempted to assess or characterize the potential size of the market, but has only allowed free enterprise to operate freely.
But that meant they didn’t know how big the industry could reasonably grow without diluting each company. And they haven’t acted hard enough to weaken or remove the illegal players.
“We’ve built all the capacity we could need and more,” said Smitherman. “Our national government has never set a limit on the amount of cannabis that can be grown.”
So New York should make sure that the industry is the right size for its market. “You can even improve the work we’ve done in Canada,” said Smitherman.