Share it. Don’t hog it.
That’s the message a Burlington-based entrepreneur is sending to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.
Patrick McMillan is in the process of building a very dynamic and one-of-a-kind cannabis centered business in Ontario that could create hundreds of new jobs and put thousands-of-dollars back into the local economy. However, his business idea looks like it all may just “go up in smoke,” thanks to the Wynne Government’s recent decision to monopolize the industry by selling cannabis for recreational use at only 40 LCBO stores across the province.
The 54-year old Burlington born entrepreneur is establishing Kind Rides Canada, a sort of “mobile tour guide” service for the cannabis tourist – a perfect solution that ‘rolls’ in nicely with the Herbal Tourism industry and keeps stoned drivers off the road (sorry, consumption will not be allowed, eh!).
McMillan unveiled a similar business while living in Denver, Colorado, a state that legalized the recreational use of marijuana in early 2014. His service catered to cannabis consumers from around the world who flocked to the “Mile High City,” and he provided rides for weed-enthusiasts visiting dispensaries and who partook in sampling and buying the “good stuff.”
While in Denver he became known as the “cannabis concierge” for visitors providing valuable information, finding the best establishments for their needs, legal consumption lounges, suggesting events and activities and assisting with bookings. In addition to providing a valuable service for cannabis tourists, he was also able to provide a greatly needed service to local/state law enforcement and the public in keeping travelers from driving while impaired from cannabis, therefore making Denver roads safer.
McMillan moved back home to Canada to begin building his business last summer, and his heart sunk when learning of Wynne’s state-like-controlled-scheme in the sale and distribution of marijuana. In Ontario, only a select number of stores will sell marijuana, which stomps out the opportunity for a real Herbal Tourism industry to exist here, and which means he may have to move his business to more open-minded provinces that promote a more free-market-style system when it comes to the sale and distribution of weed; locales like Alberta and British Columbia.
Colorado has just over a third the population of Ontario and from January through November 2017 generated $226,157,028 USD in tax revenue from over 1-Billion in sales of both medical and recreational cannabis. Not to mention the cannabis industry employs around 18,000 people in Colorado.
If Ontario’s proposed legislation mirrored a more entrepreneurial system, sales revenue could potentially top $3-Billion with close to $1-Billion in tax revenue per year. And think of the thousands of jobs that would be created as a result.
Getting ahead in the cannabis game in Ontario seems impossible. The government is gobbling up any opportunity for people to get ahead, according to McMillan.
“The current framework introduced for the sale and distribution of cannabis in Ontario as proposed by the current Ontario Government will eliminate the possibility of employing tens of thousands of Ontarians in many facets of the cannabis industry,” he explains.
“One of the largest foreseen loses with this proposed legislation is it will also prevent the Ontario government, many businesses like my own, the hospitality and entertainment industries and many other off-shoot businesses, from reaping the benefits of a highly lucrative marketplace due to a greatly increased tourist trade to Ontario by travelers from around the world. In the current scheme, only 40 retail cannabis stores throughout the entire province of Ontario will provide cannabis to literally millions of people and this will simply wreak havoc on the cannabis industry in Ontario as we know it,” he says.
Even worse, news that Ontario is ill equipped to handle the cannabis market and offers nothing to the tourist industry will spread like wild-fire around the world, and the net losses to Ontario and for its citizens will be insurmountable. A simple fact: tourists and cannabis connoisseurs alike will travel to other provinces, like Alberta and British Columbia, where rules are less stringent and a more open and free market opens the door for more opportunity, including thousands of jobs and new income streams that will benefit and boost their social safety nets and overall operating systems.
“My business and the service I offer would be best suited for an area in Canada that will attract the cannabis tourist, and being the first G7 country to nationally legalize cannabis the Herbal Tourism trade will explode in Canada,” he says. “From my three years of personal business experience I assure you that tourists will rent cars and will drive ‘high’ and my business will serve a greater purpose in areas of Canada that will experience the up and coming surge in tourism.”
He adds, “I hate to say it, and as sad as it seems, it looks like I just may have to move my business.”
McMillan has sent a request to meet with Premier Wynne in person to discuss his concerns. McMillan is also reaching out to all major political party leaders at the provincial level. He wants to meet with them to offer new solutions that work and which will help boost the provincial economy on many levels.