Canada is preparing to legalize marijuana this October, allowing for people to use it there legally for the first time ever. Canada will become the second country to legalize medical and recreational marijuana, the first being Uruguay. The recent change in cannabis laws has been prompted by many different reasons. The Canadian government hopes that legalizing marijuana will help the economy by generating taxes, creating jobs, and more. Also, many countries looking to legalize marijuana have their eyes on Canada, to see how legalization works out.
Beginning on October 17, 2018, medical and recreational cannabis will be legal in Canada for adults.
Why It’s Being Legalized
First off, why has Canada decided to legalize marijuana? It was not just a spur-of-the-moment move, but actually a well-planned out and detailed excuse to allow citizens to purchase, use, and even grow marijuana.
One reason why marijuana is being legalized is to help combat illicit selling of the plant. Before legalization, many black market dealers have been selling weed in Canada. The government hopes to put a stop to this after legalization.
Another reason, as mentioned above, is to boost the economy. Retail stores and those who legally sell marijuana in Canada will have to pay certain taxes on it. This will generate more money in taxes for the country. The Canadian government will be imposing a 10% tax on the product price, known as the Marijuana Excise Tax. Each province in Canada will also apply their own sales tax. Some provinces are increasing the tax on marijuana, while some, such as Manitoba, are making recreational marijuana exempt from a provincial sales tax.
In addition, more jobs will be created; there will be new jobs for those who legally grow and sell marijuana. These new jobs are also another tactic to get rid of black market dealers in the country.
According to estimates, about 15% of Canada’s population use marijuana (legally or not). Even the prime minister, Justin Trudeau, admitted to smoking marijuana. Also according to estimates, Canadians consumed 20 grams of marijuana per person last year. The average age of these users was 18-34. The number of Canadian marijuana users is expected to grow after legalization, of course. But even though their market seems small, it’s important to know that Canada’s population is relatively small; 37 million people live in Canada, which is less people than in California.
How The Government Will Handle Legalization
As promised by Canada’s prime minister, the legal sales of certain marijuana products will begin on October 17. Cannabis nugs (for smoking), oils (such as CBD oil), plants and seeds will initially be legal. Edibles, edible products, and concentrates (such as wax) are said to be legalized later on.
The new law states that the minimum age required to purchase marijuana is 18. Those who are old enough to buy weed may also grow it in their homes. Up to four plants may be grown per residence (not per person). Marijuana imports and exports are banned, however, except for scientific or medical purposes (which require a permit).
When it comes to legally selling marijuana, the law differs in each province. Alberta will allow privately run retail stores to sell marijuana, while the government’s liquor agency will run online sales. In Quebec, however, government-run marijuana shops will be operated. Ontario, which accounts for 40% of Canada’s legal market, has delayed plans to open marijuana shops until 2019. So until then, legal marijuana will only be available for purchase online in Ontario.
The Green Rush
Marijuana legalization in Canada has sparked up a new trend in the industry, known as the Green Rush. Even before it has been legalized in Canada, the cannabis industry is now worth $60.6 billion, which is more than it has ever been worth. Many companies are scrambling to acquire licenses for the production of marijuana. Existing growers of medical marijuana are looking for bigger and better facilities to grow, due to the recent high rise in demand, as well as new supply agreements.
All of this typically means that the industry will only grow and become more valuable. However, many believe that the market has become “too rich.” Some believe that the industry could become oversupplied due to the number of companies attempting to legally sell their own cannabis. The BI Canada Cannabis Index, which tracks the shares of 74 marijuana-related companies, has slumped this year, surging 172% in 2017.
This does not stop other companies from joining in on the industry. In fact, many drinking companies are starting to get involved. Diageo, a U.K spirits maker company, is discussing plans with at least three major marijuana producers in Canada to make and sell cannabis-infused beverages. Molson Coors Brewing Co. is also looking to create cannabis drinks in Canada.
New Law Penalties
One of the big questions that comes with Canada’s new marijuana policies is whether those charged for marijuana-related crimes will still be prosecuted. The answer to that is yes. The new marijuana laws come with strict penalties for those who do not use, grow or sell marijuana legally. Selling marijuana to minors, illegally selling marijuana, and driving under the influence of marijuana are all offenses to the new laws. Giving or selling marijuana to those under 18 and growing more than allowed can result in a maximum of 14 years in jail. New regulations also allow Canadian police to test drivers’ saliva to determine if they have been driving under the influence of marijuana.
These new laws will begin on October 17, 2018. Many other countries, including the United States, are watching Canada to see how these new laws and regulations work out. If you live in Canada and are at least 18 years of age, then after October 17th you can legally enjoy some marijuana! That’s all for this post, if you have any questions or comments, throw them down below in the comments section. Happy smoking!