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VIDEO - Ashley Chiu: Budtenders to Play Key Role in Edibles Market
INN chatted with Ashley Chiu of EY during the Lift & Co. Cannabis Expo about her new research on the upcoming Canadian edibles market.
According to a new study on the impact of the future cannabis edibles market in Canada, budtenders will play a critical role in informing new consumers.
During a panel at the Lift & Co. (TSXV:LIFT,OTCQB:LFCOF) Cannabis Expo in Toronto, Ashley Chiu, EY’s cannabis strategic growth and risk leader, and Jon Kamin, chief revenue officer with Lift, offered highlights of the upcoming report.
Following the panel, the Investing News Network (INN) talked with Chiu about the unreleased study and the role these store workers have in the Canadian market.
Chiu said the study was done to determine what the new wave of legalization, dubbed “Cannabis 2.0,” is going to look like in terms of the consumers interacting with these products.
She explained that cannabis offers a lot of unknowns, and guidance from budtenders at stores and user-generated data from reviews online will help new consumers. Budtenders are staff that work at dispensaries and provide suggestions to customers, in addition to answering questions, performing demonstrations and handling products.
“I think that the budtenders are in such a crucial, influential position,” Chiu said.
During the panel, Chiu said research shows 1.5 million new consumers are set to enter the legal cannabis market once edibles become available in Canada.
The Canadian government must release its regulations for the legalization of these items on or before October 17.
“What was startling for me was to find out that 60 percent of non-consumers currently probably won’t enter the market,” she told INN.
According to Chiu, new consumers are looking for a functional efficacy to cannabis products.
Chiu said the research, done in partnership between EY and Lift, shows there is a deep lack of knowledge when it comes to cannabidiol (CBD).
“That speaks to the big gap in marketing and promotion regulations,” said Chiu. “The US farm bill passed in the states and after that it seemed to be an explosion of CBD everywhere.”
In her role at EY, Chiu helps a variety of cannabis players in the Canadian markets with corporate design and other operational matters.
When asked about the shift in investment seen towards US-based marijuana firms, Chiu said there are still challenges facing the US market that Canadian players don’t see, such as a viable way to receive international exposure.
Chiu also warned that she still needs to see some developments with the rise of multi-state operators (MSOs) as the investment trend of 2019.
“In terms of the business operating efficiently, (and) integration so that you actually do get to realize those cross synergies, I don’t think we’ve seen a lot of that yet,” Chiu said.
She said the rush in metrics used for MSOs is a reminder of the early stages for Canadian cannabis investing.
Canadian companies with senior US listings have also gained an advantage in the cannabis public markets race, according to Chiu.
“With the shift to US exchanges, there is a lot more liquidity, a lot more investor interest and so companies want that and they want access to the American capital markets,” she said.
For more on what Chiu had to say, watch the interview above. You can also click here to see our full Lift & Co. Cannabis Expo playlist on YouTube.
Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Cannabis for real-time news updates!
Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.