"Monday 5 Things" with D. Paul Graham

Monday 5 Things…..OH CANA-bis…..

Last week, on October 17th, Canada — with much fanfare around the world — became the “first” large country to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Ok, Uruguay did so in 2013, but who am I to quibble and get in the way of good political PR spin. Canucks are now allowed to admit to inhaling and ingesting cannabis and cannabis oil — without fear of looking at the world from a jail cell — and can legally grow up to four plants at home. Come to think of it, Canada’s decision last week has brought a whole new meaning to “this bud’s for you.” There is much research and empirical evidence of the positive medical benefits of marijuana, but today’s M5T takes a tongue in cheek look through the cloud of some of the implications for Canada’s decision to become a nation of potheads.

1.  Provincial deficits

Each province in Canada controls the sale of beer, booze, and wine. Those that manage provincial coffers are sorting out (read that as salivating) how to take advantage of massive tax revenues that will be generated through THC sales. In Ontario for example, the profoundly named “The Beer Store” sells beer, and the “Liquor Control Board of Ontario”, the LCBO, sells all other types of alcohol. Currently, Torontonians can’t buy mary-jane in retail stores…. yet. Could it be just a matter of time before government-controlled retail stores called “The Weed Store”, “Doobies”, “The Joint Joint”, “Buds are Us” or “Local 420” start popping up on street corners and in malls?

2.  Taking stock

Over the past five years, my investment banking company has seen dozens of marijuana related start-ups looking for funding; none of which could raise private equity because of negative perceptions their fund investors held toward such green investment opportunities. Recently though, publicly traded pot companies are umm… please excuse the pun… rising to new highs, puffing out five-to-10 times price increases over the past few months. The Canadian stock exchanges, the TSX and VSE, have long been bastions of free-wheeling, high-risk penny-stock mining company investments. Expect to see ticker symbols of “Bong”, “Puff”, “Jynt”, “Weed”, “Gnja”, “Haze”, “Bakd”, “Fryd”, or “High” on an exchange near you.

3.  Corporate policies

I found it amusing that within an hour of the legislation becoming law, a memo from of a large well-known building owner/developer in Toronto was sent to tenants reminding them that the smoking of marijuana inside their building would be a bylaw violation. After reminding the memo recipients that they should check with their individual companies policies on smoking and drinking, the memo pointed out that smoking (of all types) was not allowed within 35 feet from their buildings. In case you didn’t get the memo, best leave your flask and Zip-Lock bag of pointy, hand-rolled, cigarettes at home.

4.  More munchies

Aside from massive tax income that provinces anticipate, benefits to the munchie economy are yet to be realized. The new law is perfectly timed for the upcoming maple syrup harvest. Doritos, potato chips and fast food sales are par for the course for buzz-induced hunger. However, unique to Canada, expect a surge in late-night sales of poutin (french fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy); cleared out store shelves of butter tarts (butter, sugar, syrup and eggs filled into a pastry crust), and nanaimo bars (a wafer crumb-based layer topped with a layer of custard, butter-icing and melted chocolate). Old Dutch ketchup-flavored potato chips will experience a resurgence, and it’s conceivable that Tim Hortons may sell a cannabis/caffeine special of pot-oil donuts and bagels alongside double-double orders. It’s a fact that Canadians are the world’s largest consumers of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner, or KD as its affectionately known north of the border. I’m no insider and not advising here, but you may want to add more Kraft stock to your RSP’s and 401K’s.

5.  The date 

There has been much speculation as to why Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chose October 17 as the official day that marijuana would be legalized. The PMO’s office has been silent on his thinking, but here are some of the speculations and theories posted on Twitter last week. Could it be that October 17th would have been the day before Trudeau’s father’s 99th birthday? Or that the date is the 50th birthday of Ziggy Marley, the son of pot’s patron saint? Questionably, most plausibly, and most certainly the most creative theory (from Twitter user Kevan McDougall) is some math magic. Divide the month of October (10) by the day (17), the answer is 0.58823529. If you then add up each of those numbers (5+8+8+2+3+5+2+9) the answer is 42.0, read as 420. Said McDougall, “I don’t even smoke marijuana, I just really like math.”

Here’s to a week of seeing clearly through the haze.

© 2018 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved.

D. Paul Graham is passionate about people, culture, photography and business. He has embraced his wanderlust with his travels around the globe and is at peace with his need for spirited drives in all things automotive.

You can find M5T each Monday here on www.southmag.com and by friending D. Paul Graham on Facebook. Paul is also a contributing photographer to South Magazine. His photographic work can be found on Instagram @dpgraham and at www.imageGRAHAM.com . Your feedback is always welcome. Email Paul at dpg@imagegraham.com