In just a few hours, Canada will become only the second country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana.
The Cannabis Act comes into effect on October 17, 2018. Under this act, persons of legal age (18 or 19, depending on province or territory) will be able to legally carry up to 30 grams of marijuana in public and, in many provinces, cultivate up to four plants for personal use. Sales channels will vary between the provinces and territories. Medical marijuana will still be available for those users authorized by their healthcare practitioner.
However, there are restrictions. Labeling requirements are in place for cannabis producers. Excise stamps (which show the consumer that product duty has been paid to the government) must be placed on every container of legal cannabis. There are penalties for anyone found selling to or providing minors with cannabis, as there are for anyone found driving while impaired. And it is illegal for Canadians to cross international borders with cannabis. (Canadians traveling between provinces are urged to make their purchase at their destinations, and obey the laws within each province and territory.)
Education is another cornerstone of the Cannabis Act. The Government of Canada has posted the health risks associated with cannabis use, much like it has with alcohol. (Overall, the industry will be managed much like the alcohol and tobacco sectors.)
But it’s the cannabis sector’s potential that has many industry participants intrigued. As the first Group of Seven nation to legalize the product, Canada has emerged as a marijuana industry leader, home to almost 100 publicly-listed companies and a market value of CAD $31 billion.
Statistics (as reported here) indicate that Canadians spent roughly $5.6 billion on cannabis in 2017; analysts at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce suggest that tally could top $6.5 billion by 2020. And a report from San Francisco’s Grand View Research Inc. suggests that by the end of 2025, the worldwide legal cannabis market could be worth almost USD $146 billion.
True, there will be obstacles. But there are also opportunities for Canada to grow its recreational marijuana sector.
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