Canada’s recreational marijuana industry was a promise of new Prime Minister and marijuana-supporter Justin Trudeau all along on the campaign trail, and that promise has finally begun to come to fruition for Canadian residents. The purpose of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada is to stem the current flow of black market marijuana products and paraphernalia, although Bruce Linton of Canopy Growth’s Tweed stated that “The government doesn’t want to have a country consuming marijuana…they want a system for those who choose to consume it.” I’m not sure what the difference is between those two statements, but Tweed has recently partnered with Leafs by Snoop, so they must be doing something right. I want to look at the new regulations put out yesterday by the Canadian Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation.

What is the Canadian Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation?

This Canadian Panel was charged with creating the new recreational regulatory framework for cannabis for our neighbors to the north, and they completed their assessment for a final report that was released this week. The panel consulted with Canadians (through surveys); provincial, territorial, municipal, and indigenous governments; representative organizations within the current cannabis industry in other countries (read: the U.S., Colorado and Washington to be exact); and youth, patients, and experts in relevant fields (I’m assuming that means scientific, medical, and cannabusiness fields). The panel consisted of nine people, roughly half men and half women, and the report stated that “We have discovered that the regulation of cannabis will touch every aspect of our society…we heard anxiety about such things as driving, youth access, and “sending the wrong message,” but we also heard a desire to move away from a culture of fear around cannabis.” Hooray, Canadian Task Force Panel! The panel report went on to state that while prohibition is not expected to be lifted overnight (although some in Toronto might disagree with that statement), “cannabis prohibition is long overdue.”

How the Task Force Plans to Minimize “Harms of Cannabis Use”

So here’s the new rules, people. The national recreational cannabis consumption age will be set at 18, which is in line with the legal Canadian drinking age; cannabis product advertising will be restricted just like tobacco advertisements are in Canada; cannabis can only be promoted to adults; cannabis packaging should be descriptive and plain; misleading promotion or encouragement of excessive consumption will be punished (through sanctions, not time in the brig); therapeutic claims in cannabis advertising must be accurate by Canadian law; no products will be made to appeal to children; all products will be packaged in childproof or child-resistant ways; no “mixed products” like alcohol-cannabis, tobacco-cannabis, or cannabis-caffeine products will be allowed; regulatory oversights for illicit production risks; strategies aimed at encouraging lower consumption of potent cannabis products (read: higher prices on higher-THC products); and the usual development of tax schedules, price schedules, public information campaigns, inter-province-and-territory communication systems, cannabis research and monitoring programs; and workplace impairment policies.

How Much Cannabis Can Canadians Grow?

Canadians can only grow four cannabis plants per residence, with a maximum height of 100 cm, and “dangerous manufacturing processes” are prohibited. Security measures must be taken for home grows to prevent theft and youth access, and oversight and approval of them will be handled by local law enforcement and other authorities

That’s it, in a nutshell – the low age for purchasing cannabis will appeal to tourists, but the lack of infused cannabis products may ultimately inhibit Canada’s bottom line when it comes to cannabis product revenue over time. It also seems to me that encouraging lower-THC cannabis products might be helped by allowing cannabis-infused products, but that’s just me. Do you live in Canada? If so, what do you think of the new recreational cannabis rules, and what would you change? If you don’t, do you think Canada’s cannabis industry will eventually outgrow that of the United States?

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