Are Canada’s Sectors Ready for Marijuana Legalization?
In June 2018, President Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would be legalizing recreational marijuana by October 17, 2018. It is a landmark for the global marijuana industry as Canada becomes the second country to legalize marijuana after Uruguay’s legalization in 2014.
This legislation will allow Canadians aged 19 and above (except in Quebec and Alberta, where the legal age is 18) to buy BC bud online. Adults may also grow and sell their own cannabis, but this will have restrictions depending on the province they live in.
The Senate has provided time for local governments and the marijuana business to prepare for legalization. However, it is most likely that a law such as this will affect different sectors as well. As the public waits for October, other sectors are taking steps to adapt to its implications.
Canada may benefit from legalizing recreational marijuana because it could become a tourist destination for marijuana users. Next door to Canada, the United States has strict federal laws that make recreational marijuana illegal in most states, while only a handful of states allow medical use. Americans who want to try recreational marijuana legally, as well as citizens from other countries banning marijuana, may choose to visit Canada to sample cannabis legally. This will increase the number of tourists and, in turn, the revenue it receives from them.
In fact, the Canadian government may earn as much as $2 billion in cannabis tourism revenue. However, these figures will not come immediately: some businesses may refuse to cater to the cannabis economy, while businesses that do may take a while to understand how to market cannabis to tourists. However, after the first year of its marijuana legalization, Canada may start to see higher returns.
Universities are taking steps to manage how students and faculty handle cannabis on-campus. These include new policies that guide or restrict their student body from using it within the campus, as well as information dissemination campaigns.
The University of New Brunswick developed guidelines for on-campus use with a group of staff, students, and members of the local government. The administration announced that they would not allow public cannabis consumption in adherence to the government’s legislation prohibiting marijuana use in public spaces. However, students over the age of 19 that are living on-campus will be allowed to smoke in private areas such as their rooms or their residences’ lounge.
Dalhousie University and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology have banned cannabis use completely, citing their already-existing no-smoking policies. The Mount Royal University had representatives from its students and faculty develop strategies to ensure its students practice safe marijuana consumption but ultimately reverted to a no-smoking ban as well.
The University of Alberta is taking a more lenient step towards on-campus marijuana use. Alberta is one of the more liberal provinces allowing public marijuana consumption, and the university’s student union found it impractical to ban it on-campus. However, they are preparing a poster campaign to inform students to make the right choice.
Meanwhile, many other universities are still waiting for more legislation changes from municipal, provincial, and federal governments before they can form their policies.
The marijuana industry could provide more income and benefit the economy with an estimated annual revenue of $400 million. Based on the possible demand, marijuana businesses will have to step up their game and compete in terms of quality and price. Non-marijuana businesses may also consider adding marijuana products to cater to more customers.
Looking towards legalization, Canada has attracted businesses from the US. The Canadian Securities Exchange found more US cannabis companies entering their stock exchange and going public. Because the US federal government considers marijuana illegal, their companies cannot enter their stock exchange. While it is still uncertain what this will mean for Canada’s market, it could provide a lot of opportunities for a more competitive market.
As the Canadian public readies itself for the right to use recreational marijuana, sectors are preparing for the implications the law will bring. Despite the medical benefits and experience cannabis may provide, users should still obey the law and follow the respective restrictions and regulations imposed in their area.
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