Question: Does the commercialization of cannabis signal a watershed moment in Canadian business?
Vaughn Hammond: “In Newfoundland and Labrador, we thought that it was, but the way that they rolled it out kind of made it difficult for small business to take advantage of cannabis legalization. So, around the whole idea of 80 per cent margin, many people said, ‘How am I going to be able to participate in this? Understanding that there are certain requirements financially, legally, security-wise, education and public awareness-wise, how am I going to be able to participate in this?’
“A lot of them, when they saw the RFP (request for proposals) by the NLC, just automatically disqualified themselves and just said, ‘I can’t do this, so I won’t participate.’
“That doesn’t necessarily mean that some small business owners may not make a go of it, because the person who’s trying to operate a business in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, he might be able to make a go of it – hopefully that might happen. But … how they rolled it out made small business owners think about whether they wanted to participate or not, and ultimately, they decided not to.
“(The government) could have set it such that the margins were higher. They could have recognized what it would be in order to be a Tier 1 operator. They could have opened it up to competition as opposed to doing it by area codes. So, the way that they did it kind of put small businesses behind before they even applied to become qualified.
“Essentially, it’s good that there’s a private option available, but when it comes to small business owners — and I think this has played out — it was an opportunity at the beginning, but the way that the government rolled it out, it ended up being something that they had to forgo in the end.
Vaughn Hammond, director of provincial affairs for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Question: How will marijuana affect the dressing room?
Brad Gushue: “I think, for someone at our level, it’s not going to affect it really at all. The reason for that is we’re governed by WADA – the World Anti-Doping Agency – and I don’t see the rules changing on cannabis any time soon, because that’s obviously the World Anti-Doping Agency and you need more than just one country to legalize marijuana to make it legal, I guess, for sport.
“Now, they might go ahead and do that before some of the other countries, but I think probably more study needs to be done on how (pot) can be used to potentially enhance sport, or enhance performance, or reduce pain or whatever it can be used for, and I don’t know much about it, to be quite honest. So, as far as the dressing rooms, I don’t see at our level much changing. You’re not going to see guys lighting up in the dressing rooms or anything like that, and in professional sports most of those are governed by the World Anti-Doping Agency, so I don’t see that changing much.
“The issues that I potentially see are because it is a banned substance for us, and it’s going to be legalized, I know there might be more exposure to it, and I don’t know how that affects testing or anything like that.
“You look back at the whole Ross Rebagliati thing a number of years ago, and again, I don’t know much about it. I haven’t really been around it much in my life, and really don’t intend on changing that just because it’s legalized. I know over the course of my career, I just avoided those situations just because of the situation with Ross. … You don’t want to be caught in that same situation, so I just avoided it over the course of my career.
“With it being legalized now, it might be a little bit harder for people like myself who just don’t want to put themselves in that situation and run the risk of having a positive test. So, that might be a potential issue, but for me and my social circle, it’s really not an issue.
“If you do happen to get outside of that and go to a party where it’s being done heavily, or a concert, I don’t know if that’s actually going to increase the risks, or what level you need to get to for us to test positive because, as I said, it’s still a banned substance under WADA’s prohibited list.”
Brad Gushue, Olympic gold medallist