Posted on March 13, 2018
Canada is heading into uncharted territory. Just over a year ago, the federal government set July 1, 2018 as the deadline for cannabis legalization. Since then, we’ve had front-row seats to the green rush. With a dedicated Cannabis practice, Navigator has been following developments in the cannabis industry, with an eye to how government, entrepreneurs, activists, medical professionals, law enforcement, and Canadians are planning for the end of prohibition.
Since November 2016, we have been tracking Canadians’ feelings about legalization in Canada’s only tracking poll dedicated to Cannabis. In January 2017, we launched the first season of Legalized. In our first season, we followed the announcement of legalization through its study by the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation and the announcement of its recommendations. But we were just getting started.
By request, and popular demand, we’re pleased to announce the return of Legalized for its second season on March 26, 2018.
Which means you have less than two weeks to binge on the first season, as we’ll be picking things up where we left off last year.
Over the past 17 months, we have heard the excitement and concerns of Canadians. We watched as provincial government introduced legislation about cannabis retail and as the cannabis industry expanded across the country.
In season 2 of Legalized we’ll speak with Aaron Salz, head of Stoic Advisory to discover how Canada is quietly becoming the top exporter of medical cannabis. What does that look like? What are other countries borrowing from Canada’s model? What does this mean for Canadian exports?
We’ll explore the economic impacts inside our own borders. Is the end of prohibition proving to be a boon for small towns that have been hit hard by the decline in manufacturing?
And what can we expect of entrepreneurs seeking to build cannabis lifestyle brands? How can these pioneers build modern cannabis businesses that eschew the traditional “stoner” aesthetic? How do they plan to shed stereotypes about cannabis consumption?
As businesses and entrepreneurs professionalize the industry, how will they manage public opinion, which hasn’t yet fully embraced legalization? In our Cannabis in Canada report, we have watched support for legalization slowly decrease from a high of 46% to a low of 42% over the last 18 months. Similarly, we have seen opposition to legalization rise from a low of 33% to a high of 38% in that same period.
What will it take for Canadians to feel comfortable that law enforcement have the tools they need to tackle impaired driving and youth access? We’ll dig into these concerns in our new season of Legalized.
Last season, we spoke with the Hon. Anne McLellan, head of the federal government’s Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation, about the findings and recommendations of the Task Force. In season 2, we’ll check-in with her again about Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, to see if the legislation lines up with the findings of the Task Force, and the degree to which it will produce a safe environment for Canadians and cannabis consumers.
While the bill has passed votes in the House and is now being debated in the Senate, issues remain among activists and opposition parties. We’ll speak with one Member of Parliament—Tracey Ramsey—who has voiced her concerns with the government’s legalization plan. We’ll explore how —in her view—the legislation has created confusion about what’s legal vs. what’s not, and it will fail to equip law-enforcement with the tools needed to accurately test for cannabis-impaired driving.
Similarly, we’ll hear from activists and advocates, such as Jonathan Zaid from Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana, that the federal government’s approach to legalization will place undue burden on medical patients. A refusal by the federal government to exempt medical cannabis from its $1-per-gram excise tax and HST/GST will create a situation in which medical cannabis is the only prescribed drug that is not exempt from taxation. What impact will this have?
There are a host of issues that still need to be addressed by all levels of government about legalization. Despite these, we have already seen the incredible economic impact the cannabis industry can have on Canada. The expansion of medical and recreational cannabis businesses has been unprecedented and full legalization could bring even more growth.
As we explore these questions, we hope you’ll subscribe to our second season of Legalized, wherever you get your podcasts (Apple Podcast, Google Play, SoundCloud). We’ve been lucky enough to speak with industry professionals, medical experts, MPs, activists, and advocates about what legalization means for Canada and Canadians. And we can’t wait to share their perspective with you.
New episodes are released every week, starting on March 26, 2018.
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