The global cannabis community rejoiced when Canada’s Liberal Party, led by Justin Trudeau, won a landslide victory in 2015 with cannabis legalization included in the party’s platform. Prime Minister Trudeau never backed away from the pledge to introduce a national legalization strategy across the Great White North, but we must always remain vigilant to ensure that “Legalization 1.0” promising stricter rules and penalties doesn’t become “Prohibition 2.0”.
As the nation is getting closer to seeing licensed and regulated sales become a reality, what are the implications? Who will be allowed to participate, where will products be sold and at what price?
Legalization is coming and now comes the hard part, establishing regulations that will vary across provinces. “Provincial governments across Canada are beginning to implement provincial distribution strategies in concert with the Federal rules that local municipal governments will have to understand in order to amend their existing bylaws and create new ones in order to facilitate this historic regulatory roll out” says Vancouver based and leading international cannabis lawyer, Robert Laurie of AD LUCEM LAW CORPORATION.
Laurie added that “the laws and rules governing the cannabis industry are changing, but it is doubtful the government’s legal market monopoly will get off to a smooth start and without problem.”

British Columbia, the province that includes Vancouver, has long been a pioneer in its progressive cannabis policies as Vancouver has become one of the top cannabis-friendly cities in the world. Getting a rather late start, B.C. is finally going to start unveiling its regulations.

The CBC reports:

Those include setting the legal age at 19, allowing adults to possess up to 30 grams of non-medicinal cannabis at a time, stiff penalties for adults driving while impaired, bans on smoking in beaches, parks and playgrounds and veto power to municipalities on applications for any retail licence.

However, rules on pricing, along with locations for the public standalone stores operated by the Liquor Distribution Branch, will not be revealed.

“I’ve been clear, right from the beginning, you’re not going to see whole piles of stores up and running right away. It will be ramping up. We will be working with local governments, because they’re the ones that have to implement it,” said (Solicitor General Mike) Farnworth.

Cannabis business attorney Kirk Tousaw told the CBC, “I would have thought B.C. would have been leading in this area, not lagging behind every other province in this country. I think we’re the last to table legislation and that is unfortunate, because we should be leaders on this issue.”

Jamie Shaw, Director of the BC Independent Cannabis Association, noted that she’ll have more to say when all of the rules are finally released, but stated to me that, ”BC has been pretty forward-thinking, but it is going to be rough on this province. They did push for micro-licenses, but they won’t be ready in time. Additionally, the province is going to control distribution between the growers and the retailers, which doesn’t bode well for the ability for producers to sell at their production sites. Edibles and extractions producers won’t be allowed into the market yet, so for the next couple of years, it’s going to be a pretty rough transition.” You can learn from Jamie, Robert, and many of the top cannabis activists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs at the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference on June 24-25.

Every place that has legalized has had its ups and downs with regulations and Canada won’t be any different. It will be interesting to see how the rules and regulations will develop over the years. While the exact path the laws and regs will take is uncertain, we do know that the initial rules will change, but that the opportunities for more freedom, jobs, and revenue will be there. Hopefully, the government doesn’t muck it up too much.

Canada has been a leader of the global cannabis legalization movement and their influence will only continue to grow as the nation legalizes cannabis commerce across the nation. Learn the latest at the International Cannabis Business Conference in beautiful Vancouver this June 24-25. Get your tickets by June 3rd to save $200