Few people were surprised when Canada announced that marijuana prohibition in the country would end October 17, 2018. After all, Canada does have one of the highest rates of marijuana use in the world. In 2017 alone, Canadian citizens spent around C$5.7 billion ($4.6 billion) on medical and recreational cannabis combined, roughly $1,200 per user, the bulk of which went to the black market. But what does legalization look like for those living and working in Canada?
Obviously, there’s going to be some level of adjustment period as prohibition ends and regulation begins. As the regulation comes to fruition, the grey areas will leave a weak spot for interest groups to exploit and challenge. Many have already started challenging how members of law enforcement would test for those driving under the influence of marijuana. Bill Bogart, a Canadian legal expert specializing in drugs and legalization, predicts that we will also see challenges to the rules regarding edibles, which won’t be legal for another year, and a rise in employment issues like the use of medical cannabis in the workplace. One thing’s for certain, though: lawyers will definitely be kept busy during this time.
Part of the nationwide cannabis legalization is that, after October 17, it will be legal under federal law to consume cannabis and grow a limited amount at home. Landlords are concerned about potential damages caused by personal cultivation and smoke-related problems. Some landlords are banning all smoking and growing in their buildings.
One thing the legal cannabis market will mean for Canada is a rise in big business. As the long-held stigma against this drug decreases, more and more global brands are expressing interest in dappling in the promising market. Coca-Cola, for instance, has expressed interest in using CBD, the non-psychoactive oil derived from the cannabis plant, in wellness beverages. Likewise, Constellation Brands, the owner of Corona beer, is investing in Canopy Growth in the hopes to produce a non-alcoholic beverage derived from cannabis.
Craft Marijuana Producers
With all the big brands coming into Canada’s marijuana market, what will happen to the small-scale growers? Keeping these small growers operating is key, according to advocates, to minimizing the size of the illegal market. In an effort to keep the diversity alive in the market, Canadian officials created “micro-processing” and “micro-cultivator” licenses to make the licensing process simpler for them.
All signs point to legality leading to a surge in investments and research looking into all the various impacts this drug has on the different forms of human life. With easier, access, less stigma, and increased excitement in the researching of marijuana, researchers stand to be on the upswing due to legalization.
As far as the tax revenues are concerned, many cities say they haven’t been informed yet of how that money will be dispersed. The federal government is projecting revenue in the ballpark of $400 million per year from the cannabis market. The federal government will keep 25% of that money without exceeding an annual limit of $100 million. The rest of the money will be given to the provinces which will disperse it accordingly to each of their cities.