Earlier this year, we posted an article on changes to the Canadian cannabis scene since the arrival of a new government committed to legalization of cannabis. The Canadian moves to legalize pot offers a living example of how the process of legalization can (or can’t) work in one of the world’s biggest economies.
However, as we discussed in our March article, there are several speed bumps on the road to legalization as the interests of the Government, police and medical authorities conflict with the expectations of canna entrepreneurs and the weed growing/consuming general population.
So here’s a quick summary of what is happening on the Canadian road trip so far…
How will cannabis legalization in Canada look?
This is a constant topic of debate amongst policy makers and those who will be affected (cannabis users and growers). While the Government doesn’t have the answers for its population yet, it is asking the rights questions. A recent online survey got over 30,000 responses to questions including; “Should consumption of marijuana be allowed in any publicly accessible spaces outside the home?” “To what extent, if any, should home cultivation be allowed in a legalized system?” and “What are your views on the minimum age for purchasing and possessing marijuana?” A summary of the responses will be reported back to the government in November.
What’s happening to Canada’s dispensaries?
Since the new government came to power on the pro-legalization ticket, there has been an explosion in the number of dispensaries operating in Canada’s major cities - in Vancouver, for example, it is estimated that there are more than 120 dispensaries in operation. Under Federal law these remain illegal and high profile busts have been taking place in Toronto with dispensaries, including that of Canada’s very own Prince of Pot, Mark Emery, being targeted for shut down. However, this has become a gray area with other city authorities, such as Vancouver and Victoria in British Columbia (home of the legendary BC weed), allowing dispensaries to operate with a license so long as they follow strict guidelines.
What’s happening to Canada’s medical growers?
Following a federal court judgment in February, medical growers won the right to grow in their homes. However, Canada has approximately 35 government licensed growers who provide medical marijuana (under the previous government’s system) and they are opposed to this situation. How regulated the market will become after legalization could impact on the status of home growers.
What’s happening to canna-business in Canada?
While news that Canada is prepared to legalize got many people in the business very excited, how it will actually work is still a source of debate. There are two schools of thought – either to open up a cannabis free market or introduce a highly regulated system. However, a sign that the larger business world is not rushing to join the country’s green revolution came when two of Canada’s biggest banks announced plans not to hold bank accounts for companies involved in ‘marijuana-related business’.
What is happening to cannabis laws in Canada?
Lawmakers have agreed on some things, like setting a minimum age limit for the purchase of marijuana (more than likely to be 21) and pledged to keep profits out of the hands of criminals, which suggests sales in a legalized Canada could be through Government approved premises. Until there is a Federal law the legal situation throughout the country is uncertain with different applications of the law in different provinces and municipalities.
As Canada continues on the road towards legalization, Paradise Seeds will continue to keep an eye on what is going on and keep you updated. What happens in this country could very soon have profound effects for cannabis users living in countries all over the world as governments monitor the Canadian experiment.