October 17, 2018 mark a remarkable milestone for the cannabis users in Canada and in the world at large. Justin Trudeau might be the next Prime minister tackling immigrant, because a lot of people will be coming to partake in this national Kush Fest.
This, however, is a bold move by Canada, taking in to consideration that cannabis is still illegal in more than three quarters of the world. This move is proudly applauded, we have be advocating about the benefits of the powerful herbs for ages, and fight against the wrongful criminalization of the “Tree of Life”.
Legalization Process of cannabis in Canada
Since the legalization of medical marijuana in Canada back in 2001, there as been talks about the decriminalization of the plant for both medical and recreational use. Justin Trudeau promised in his election campaign in 2015, that he would be lobbying for the legalization, and so said , so done. He deserve another term. Such a man of his word.
The first significant step that Justin Trudeau took was the creation of a federal-provincial-territorial task force to discuss jointly, no pun intended, a suitable process for the legalization of cannabis possession for casual use. This Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation released a 106-page report to the public on December 13, 2016, with various recommendations. Those were provided for consideration by the federal and provincial governments, but they were not concrete. The Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act passed by the federal government in June 2018 will commence the casual use of marijuana in Canada. Marijuana sales will remain confined to license retailers and producers. Subsequently, there will be harsher penalties for sale of marijuana to minors and channels specifically not authorized for that purpose, and driving while “stoned”.
On December 2, 2016 in an interview by the Toronto Star Trudeau revealed that his intent is “to better protect our kids from the easy access they have right now to marijuana [and] to remove the criminal elements that were profiting from marijuana”.
On June 1, 2018, the Canadian Senate passed an amendment to C-45 outlawing cannabis “brand-stretching”. The amendment, which passed 34–28, outlaws the sale and display of cannabis-related merchandise and makes it difficult to publicly promote cannabis once legalized. However, this amendment was rejected by the Liberal government when the bill was returned to the House of Commons and does not appear in the final version of C-45 that received Royal Assent.
On June 19, 2018, the Senate passed the bill and the Prime Minister announced the effective legalization date as October 17, 2018. Canada is the second nation, with Uruguay being the first ,to legalise the herb. I applaud them both, since countries such as Jamaica, that produces the best strains of cannabis worldwide are still stifled.
The obvious economic benefits of the Cannabis Industry
Canada has definitely come a far way from the ban of cannabis growth and production in any form in 1923. Growers that currently produce marijuana are licensed by Health Canada under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). As of late 2016, there were 36 authorized producers across the country in Health Canada’s list. Sales were allowed only by mail order, but by late 2017, some major retailers had applied for a change in the rules to allow them to also sell the product. By December 21, 2017, 82 licences had been issued under the ACMPR, but not all of the producers had been licensed to begin selling medical marijuana. The vast majority of these companies were located in Ontario. At that time, no licences had been issued yet for producing recreational cannabis; the producers already licensed were hoping to be added to that list after it is created. Between February 1 and early April 2018, some 89 additional applicants were approved as cannabis growers by Health Canada; at the time, the agency was considering the merits of another 244 applications. Statistics indicate that, as of September 2016, nearly 100,000 Canadians had bought medical marijuana legally, a significant increase over the 30,537 in September 2015, presumably since it is becoming mainstream and since supplies are becoming more readily available. According to a StatsCan estimate, Canadians may have spent roughly CAD$6.2 billion (US$4.8 billion) on marijuana in 2015, although the agency admits that there is no scientific method of accurately measuring illegal consumption.
The report by the Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation had recommended that recreational cannabis growers should be licensed at a federal level, separately from the producers of medical marijuana. The expert panel also recommended that the process ensure competition by licensing both large and small producers. While licensing should be federal, each of the provinces should be allowed to determine how and where the product will be sold.
After the plans for legalization became well-publicized, industry analysts reported that some of the producers who had been licensed for medical marijuana, including Aurora Cannabis, were already increasing the capacity of their operations for future sales to the distributors of recreational cannabis.
A report in late November 2017 by Ernst & Young suggested that there would be mergers, leaving fewer players in this industry. “Many believe that consolidation is inevitable, leaving a few large players post-legalization.” Also in late 2017, it’s predicted that the recreational cannabis market would be worth close to $23 billion. Lately, US Alcohol companies have been showing interest in the Cannabis business in Canada. US Cannabis producers are afraid that Canada is going to be the prime dominator in the Cannabis industry.
I hope that the world will take a leaf, again no pun intended, out of Canada’s and Uruguay’s books and reassess the not only the enormous economic advantages of decriminalizing this plant, but also to take steps to revert the charges that were laid against innocent cannabis users, work to remove the unwarranted stigma surrounding cannabis use and invest in public awareness of the pros vs the cons-even though very minute of the long thought of taboo herb.