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When the Gin Craze hit England with the arrival of William and Mary from the Dutch republic in the late 1600’s, they brought a new beverage – gin – to the British Isles.  People went crazy.  They loved it.  Pretty soon the whole country was drunk.

The British public stayed drunk until about 1751 when laws were passed prohibiting distillation and limiting sales.

Of course, many still found ways to consume, declaring the medicinal benefits of gin were required.  But the mania was over; if even now Britons still love their gin and tonic.

When Prohibition ended in North America, there was a party mania that went on and on.  Sure people had been ignoring the prohibition for quite a while, but when booze became legal again, the country was ready for a bender.

Now we are poised to repeat this kind of adventure with cannabis.  Like the others intoxicants, people have been partaking of the product in its quasi legal state for many years.  And many have found the medical benefits of cannabis – seemingly more real than those of gin – have been legal for quite some time.

Now with multi-billion dollar investments in cannabis companies, the industry seems real.  But what shape the market will take is almost anyone’s guess.  Expectations are enormous with Canada becoming the first major country to legalize (sorry Uruguay).

Almost all societies have had some kind of intoxicants as part of their cultures.  It seems to be a general social human need to blow off a little steam and lose yourself from time to time.  We wrestle with responsibility for those who have addictive personalities and can’t control the urges to over use.  We also wrestle with the need to make sure that society, much more cramped than it has ever been, stays safe from those whose intoxication makes their judgement dangerous to others.

The new Cannabis market in Canada has been legalized recognizing some of these social issues and has been modeled on how we manage alcohol – keep product out of the hands of those under 18, make sure drivers are not intoxicated when driving and so forth.

We are also also giving lip service to marketers trying to lure people into the market who otherwise might not be partaking.  While these efforts, which include “no branding” and no advertising, seem to ignore the benefits of branding which are many.  Branding insures quality control; it provides consumers with confidence in the products they are purchasing.

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