Cannabis is coming to Canada, whether we like it or not.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective), cannabis is not something that is native to our Canadian soil. It is considered a potentially “invasive” plant species, but in a limited way it will be allowed to enter Canada and be grown, processed and distributed through regulated and licensed sales.
What this means for Canada is that with the introduction of cannabis plants into Canada, that cannabis will go through a production process within the country’s borders – the cannabis won’t come in as a finished product from somewhere else. As part of the Cannabis Act which goes into effect in July all across Canada, the federal government will be imposing guidelines and regulations for the production of cannabis into its various forms within personal grows and through retailers and licensed producers across the county. We’ll address some of these important issues about cannabis production.
The Cannabis Act is a piece of federal legislation that provides basic regulations and guidelines for those individuals and/or corporate entities that wish to be producers and/or retailers of cannabis and cannabis products. It isn’t as easy as just putting out a shingle announcing that people can “get your weed here.”
After July 1, the Canadian federal government will unveil application procedures and criteria for people and companies to apply to become federally licensed producers. No cannabis can be produced without a federal license to do so.
Similarly, the Act provides guidance to license cannabis distributors and retailers. The difference here is that the provinces and territories are allowed to develop, implement and enforce their own guidelines, regulations and application processes and enforcement systems to allow these retailers and distributor to operate with licensed entities.
Producers who wish to become licensed retailer and distributors will have to go through very similar procedures and systems as non-producer entities at the provincial or territorial level.
The Cannabis Act works in conjunction with other Canada laws already on the books. There is not an entirely different set of laws applying to the legal cannabis industry, but the laws regulating the industry are woven into the existing legal fabric of Canada, its provinces and territories.
One of the prominent ses of laws already on the books involves monopolies, which would apply to any entity that will have multiple distribution, retail or production centers in a particular part of the country. The goal of the anti-trust laws (also known as as anti-monopoly laws) in Canada is to encourage open and free competition and not to allow a company or individual to own too much of a stake in a economy within a municipality, province or territory.
By the way – those who have prior cannabis-related crimes in their backgrounds will not be automatically refused a license to produce, distribute or sell cannabis; it will depend on the province or territory in which the application is filed, that region’s guidelines and rules about applications and the nature of the cannabis-related offense.
THC is the prevalent chemical that makes cannabis risky for users, and it is a chemical that can make cannabis addictive if it is consumed at a certain level or rate. The Cannabis Act does have and will continue to develop regulations regarding the amount of THC in a particular cannabis-based product, and that level of concentration in that product will be required to be clearly posted on the packaging for the benefit of consumers.
Next up, we’ll take a deeper look into the violations of the act and the correlated consequences of those violations.