With Contributions from Anna De Paoli & Gino De Paoli
With July 1, 2018, just over a year away, and if everything is on schedule, Canada will be the first of the G7 countries to legalise cannabis for recreational use.
On June 30, 2016, the government announced the creation of a task force assigned to lay the ground work as a first step to legalising marijuana and setting their jurisdictions for an eventual application, which was completed on December 16, 2016.
April 13, 2017 marked a significant day for legal marijuana use, as the government revealed their federal legislation for a July, 1 2018 roll-out. The result has some clarity and some questions.
What We Know?
- Sales of legal marijuana/cannabis are limited to people over the age of 18, but provincial governments can define their own minimum age.
- Publicly, one over the age of 18 can possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis, or it’s equivalent in a non-dried form. For example: THC Oil.
- Per residence, adults can grow up to four cannabis plants up to a metre in height.
- There will enforcement with a regulated limit allowed for THC in one’s bloodstream and offences/charges can laid if over them.
- Sales of dried cannabis, oils and seeds will be legal initially, edibles will come later as regulations for production and sales can be approved.
- Anyone caught selling marijuana to minors can face penalties ranging from $1,000 fines to a maximum of a 14-year prison term.
- The path to becoming a licensed producer in Canada is a considerable undertaking. There are currently 44 companies who are approved and hundreds of applications for potential producers, awaiting certification.
- There is considerable investment interest in this sector, for both publicly traded and private equity ventures. There will be winners and losers as the market develops fully. How big the market eventually becomes remains to be seen, but estimates in the billions of dollars are common place.
What We Don’t Know?
- Who’s going to distribute the products? There are several publicly traded companies across Canada in the medicinal area of distribution, but when it comes to recreational sale, is it going to be specific dispensaries or open market approach?
- How is every local jurisdiction going to handle the enforcement of legalised cannabis? Alberta Urban Municipalities President Lisa Holmes says that they need more time to process the legislation and put it into their future by-laws. This is a time where many municipalities are already reviewing by-laws and looking at definitions of Agriculture.
- What will be the overall price?
- How will cannabis be taxed?
- How will food labeling work for edible products?
The interest in the new market is immense, with many new businesses looking to branch out into the legalised world of cannabis. This is an exciting time for a new industry and a time of great change and challenge for existing ones. The impacts of the legalisation of cannabis are far reaching and it will take some time before all the questions are answered.