Here we are two weeks away from cannabis legalization, and whether you consider this day to be a momentous day in Canadian history will depend on a whole host of different personal beliefs and predispositions. It is a momentous one for those of us who’ve long understood that cannabis should never have been classified as dangerous narcotic and made illegal. Now of course there will be some who disagree, and they might be surprised to learn that camp isn’t made up exclusively of staunch, conservative old-guard types. However, no matter where you sit on the issue of legal marijuana the fact is that as of October 17th it’s a reality in Canada.
Asides from allowing people to partake in marijuana, hashish, shatter and more forms without fear of arrest and prosecution, there’s going to be more developments that come along with legal marijuana in Canada. We don’t pretend to be an expert on the subject matter, but we do have some interesting insights and predictions that you may or may or not agree with. Let’s wade into that discussion now, because today’s the day the whole landscape changed for recreational use of cannabis in Canada.
Any Canada timeline legalization will probably start back in 2000, when one Terrance Parker won his Supreme Court case asserting that prohibiting marijuana possession for medical purposes infringed on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Following that, there wasn’t much more than rumblings at the grassroots level and municipal police forces that didn’t put much effort into enforcing cannabis possession and cultivation laws. Most police officers when speaking off the record will have told you that they had ‘bigger fish to fry’ unless it fell into their laps or an individual was being far too brazen with their cultivation or trafficking.
So it wasn’t until some 16+ years later when a more progressive-thinking Prime Minister and his House of Commons gave us our next dot on the Canada legalization timeline. In 2017 the House introduced Bill C-45, and it quickly become known as the Cannabis Act. Provincial governments began to draw up their regulations for legal marijuana in their Provinces, and the act set today’s date – October 17th, 2018 – as the date for ushering in legal marijuana in Canada. Now some of you may be asking of other countries where marijuana is legal. Only one of them has beat us to the punch in legalizing marijuana across the entire country, and that’s Uruguay.
What’s Going to Follow Legal Marijuana?
There are a whole host of predictions out there regarding what legal marijuana is going to lead to on many different levels, from economic to the individual. The first one that’s going to be relevant across the spectrum is that demand is expected to outstrip supply. In fact, Health Canada is predicting that demand for legal pot could reach 1 million kilograms a year. This is paired with predictions that licensed growers collectively won’t even produce half that amount before mid October of next year.
The biggest ramification of any such shortage will be seen in 2 ways. First, it will mean higher-than-expected prices per gram. The second will be the continued survival – and perhaps even continued thriving – of the marijuana black market in Canada. And those higher prices will also send some consumers to private dealers who offer a comparable product at a much better price. Some will question why we didn’t foresee and prepare for this shortage. The industry did foresee it in many ways, but the problem was that many growers who received federal approval in advance of the Cannabis Act being passed weren’t going to spend massive amounts of money on that volume of growing infrastructure until the act did officially pass.
Experts believe that supply will catch up with demand by the end of 2019, but until then there’s going to be something of a shortage it seems, at least of legal marijuana. And one other thing to note about the continued black market for marijuana; with cultivation of 4 plants now for personal use now allowed, it’s safe to assume there’ll be more than a few people out there willing to bend those rules and have small surpluses to sell as well.
Stocking International Medicinal Supply after 2020
Another development that we’ve been told to expect is that by 2020 it’s expected that the industry will have a surplus of marijuana grown by licensed producers in Canada. A BIG surplus. Health Canada predicts that domestic oversupply will be more 1 million kilograms. That’s quite the over correction, but there is a definite upside here as far as Canada’s GDP is concerned.
Bill C-45 allows for the export of medicinal marijuana, and it is likely that Canada will export a good portion of this oversupply to some of the many countries around the world where medical marijuana is legal. If that becomes reality it will certainly be worthy of another notch on the Canada legalization timeline and a feel-good story for proponents of marijuana for medicinal and therapeutic purposes. However, the one stumbling block potentially in the way of this is that not all of those countries allow prescriptions for dried cannabis. These are countries where marijuana is legal, but only for medicinal purposes and authorities there are being suitably precautious.
We’ll move away from dollars-and-cents themed predictions and now talk about some ways in which legal pot in Canada will spark developments at the individual and community levels. There are already serious concerns among many civic interest groups in all Provinces regarding the perceived dangers of legalizing and making it easier to access pot. We can expect to see either new or reinvigorated efforts to put measures in place to protect people. This will include continued calls for some type of effective and reliable roadside screening device for marijuana, objections to the location of marijuana storefronts based on any number of reasons, and even stricter regulations put in place to restrict the sale of marijuana to minors.
These are just 3 of the many developments that are not difficult to foresee in the time following legalization, and to cover them all would require an entire blog post (or 2) of its own. Let’s just say it likely won’t be a smooth transition, and those who oppose it are going to buck back with whatever means possible. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily, however, as finding the best ways of making access to marijuana safe for everybody is a worthwhile process.
We’ll conclude today with the most upbeat and positive prediction of all of these. Recreational users will become more familiar with strains and ingestion methods that work best for them. Choice is always a good thing. People will now be able to go to a shop and discuss their needs / likes / dislikes and more with a knowledgeable individual behind the counter who can point them towards a product that matches what they’re after. This is the best aspect of legalization in our opinion. Previously so many people had no choice but to take what the seller had – and in many instances the seller wouldn’t even know themselves!
This is a big day that’s been a long time coming for proponents of legal marijuana in Canada, and if you’re one of them we encourage you to bask in it. Go watch Reefer Madness and laugh at the folly that led to almost 100 years of silliness in this country. It’s over now, and not a day too soon.