How Does Canada’s Legalization of Marijuana Work?

On October 17, 2018, Canada has officially legalized the possession and recreational use of marijuana by adults. It was only the second country in the world to do so (the first country was Uruguay, which legalized marijuana use in 2013). Other countries where marijuana has been legalized include Georgia and South Africa. 

While the legalization of marijuana has also made headlines in the United States, the United States has so far not made a similar move at the federal level. However, 15 states (Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Montana, Arizona, Colorado, South Dakota, Michigan, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, and Alaska) and the District of Columbia have fully legalized marijuana in the states. -United.

In countries and states where marijuana has been legalized, it has been shown that there are substantial benefits to the economy. In fact, many of the most successful legal cannabis companies are based in Canada. At the start of legalization, many analysts in the legal cannabis industry speculated that Canada’s legalization procedures would give it a distinct advantage in terms of reaping financial rewards, and these predictions eventually came to fruition for the country.

However, it is important to recognize that the Canadian legalization process has been not without its complexities. Below we will explore some of the details of the Canadian legalization process.

Multiple sets of rules

One of the most important stipulations of the Canadian marijuana legalization process was that while some rules are set at the national level, the country’s 13 provinces also retain a great deal of autonomy to set their own regulations. This means that such important details as where customers can buy marijuana are determined differently depending on where those customers are located across the country.

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For example, Ontario, which is the most populous province in Canada, allowed the opening of private cannabis stores on April 1, 2019.Initially, customers in British Columbia had only one government-run store in the city of Kamloops to rely on for in-person cannabis purchases, but more than 100 private retailers have also applied for licenses. Now there are more than 200 private sector stores in British Columbia, after municipal consent further defined how cannabis could be bought and sold.

Saskatchewan took a contrasting approach, allowing 51 private stores as soon as legalization began.Quebec initially limited in-person sales to government-run dispensaries, although the Quebec Cannabis Society (SQDC), owned by the Quebec government, still retains a monopoly on regulated recreational cannabis sales in the province. While most provinces have allowed new private sector cannabis retailers to open, by province, Quebec has one of the lowest cannabis stores per capita in Canada.

All of this means that customers cannot assume that the process for obtaining cannabis products will be the same when traveling or moving between provinces. It will also have a significant impact on businesses that expand in each of the provinces; it’s hard to imagine a retailer focusing on an area in which only government-run stores are allowed to operate, for example.

Product deployment

On the day of legalization, only the oils, seeds, flowers, and marijuana plants themselves were available. Edibles, concentrates, and other related products were rolled out later, in 2019. Yet other products in development, including creams and cosmetics, are still restricted by regulations in Canada.

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Role of government

An important consideration for Canadian cannabis businesses of all types, as well as investors in these businesses, is the role of the Government of Canada in the various regulatory measures that govern legalization. In addition to in-person sales at Approved Supplier (LP) stores, the regulations also allow online sales. In most provinces, government-run dispensaries facilitate online sales. Additionally, some provinces allow government dispensaries to regulate the distribution of cannabis products, acting as an intermediary between LPs and the consumer.

As you might expect, over time the way the government has regulated cannabis sales in Canada (and in each separate province) has changed. For example, in 2020, the BC provincial government changed regulations so that private cannabis stores can sell non-medical cannabis products online for in-store pickup. Previously, customers could reserve products online, but they had to pay in person.

Separate legal issues

Many other legal issues have been raised regarding cannabis use in Canada. At the start of legalization, it was unclear how people previously convicted of cannabis-related crimes would be treated after legalization. The government has rejected a proposal to erase or completely erase possession records. Instead, they adopted a version of the pardon, called “record suspension.”

This process is also available for other crimes, but in the case of cannabis-related crimes, there is no waiting period and applicants are not required to pay the $631 fee. It is believed that approximately 250,000 Canadians have criminal records for simple possession of marijuana.

The age required to legally buy cannabis also varies from province to province, which poses legal problems. Although the legal age to use marijuana is 19 in most provinces, there are exceptions. Since January 1, 2020, the legal age in Quebec is 21 years old. (Before that date, he was 18.) In Alberta, the legal age is 18.

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Likewise, depending on the province, there are different legal restrictions that govern exactly where consumers are allowed to smoke marijuana. In many provinces, the use of marijuana in public is prohibited. Yet other provinces allow cannabis use in areas where tobacco can be smoked.

The essential

The legal cannabis industry in Canada has showed tremendous promise. The last few years have seen tremendous growth for marijuana businesses across the country. In some cases, investors should be wary of hype, and caution may be the best approach. However, like any other business, cannabis companies publish their financial results. Beyond the hype, this is where the real proof of their success lies. And over the past few years, many of the industry’s early flaws have been ironed out.