Trailblazer: Nathan Mison

By: Joe Navarro

“This is Canada’s greatest economic opportunity.”

“Canada is positioned as a world leader and innovator in the cannabis space.  Cannabis is basically the next Internet,” says Nathan Mison, as his voice booms louder with excitement. “This is Canada’s greatest economic opportunity. As a leader, we are able to set and influence global standards and best practices while exporting our knowledge and talent.”

“Mison has been meeting with stakeholders and representing the interests of the cannabis sector since legalization.”

As the co-chair of the National Cannabis Working Group for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, a board member of the Alberta Cannabis Council, and a founding member of the Alberta Cannabis Retailers Association, Mison has been meeting with stakeholders and representing the interests of the cannabis sector since legalization. As the founding partner at Diplomat Consulting, a consulting firm specializing in cannabis policy and strategic planning, his work continues with an ongoing dialogue with regulators to adopt a common-sense approach to cannabis. Recalling his experience in public affairs, he notes, “It’s so stupid, everybody should be non-partisan, as we need to work together and collaborate.” Fueled by a palpable energy and a side of bravado, Mison is a proud entrepreneur hoping to make the world a better place for his kids.

Cutting his teeth at Fire & Flower, Mison waded into the deep end embarking on a journey of retail expansion across provinces in a murky and new regulatory environment. “Regulators needed to be educated and have cannabis humanized.  Canadian citizens have embraced cannabis and they needed their voice heard and a representative relationship through advocacy,” Mison explains. “Fire & Flower was one of the few retailers at the regulatory level pushing forward… it takes time. You need to understand that today is not what the future will look like.”

“Lotteries give me PTSD. That is not what a normal sector has to go through, and cannabis had to go through five across the country,” Mison expounds. “There have been lots of good wins along the way and I believe that we have a lot of positive momentum. For regulators, it is always easier to give than to take away, but there should be a shorter time window for new changes going forward.”

“Canada has positioned itself for the the number one opportunity for business abroad.”

“Over 60 countries are now investigating cannabis on a medical or recreational level.  Canada has built our own domestic supply chain, set the standards, and positioned itself for the the number one opportunity for business abroad,” Mison states. “I challenge Canada to make cannabis a true differentiator and seize the full economic opportunity. Hospitality and tourism have been beaten down during the pandemic. The first government that prioritizes cannabis as their number one industry will have a significant global lead.”

“Using the lessons we learned from retail, we are now going to apply them to tourism and hospitality.  People want to ingest cannabis, in style, by consuming food and drink. Using our existing framework for alcohol, we are pushing for cannabis consumption at live events, concerts, and the real places cannabis intersects with our lives,” Mison says. “If the government refunneled the taxes collected back into the industry, cannabis could be a true economic solution for Canada.”

“Cannabis can be consumed at live events and festivals without a special event cannabis license in Alberta.”

Chalk up another W as Diplomat Consulting recently announced, after meeting with various levels of government over the last nine months, that they have received regulatory clarity that cannabis can be consumed at live events and festivals without the need for a special event cannabis license in Alberta.

“Let us lead the way, as this is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Canada. We need to keep in perspective that this is the start of the race, but not the beginning. You can be an innovator!” Mison evangelizes. “You are not alone, and we are stronger when working and advocating together.”