Article by Globe and Mail
Cannabis legalization is coming to Canada on Oct. 17, and whether you plan on smoking up or not, it’ll change the way you live. Businesses across the country, from growers and retailers to the tech and tourism sectors, are preparing to reap a windfall from legal marijuana. But Canadians also face difficult questions about cannabis use in the workplace, in their homes and among their friends and loved ones.
Globe and Mail journalists have been documenting Canada’s preparations for legalization day, and the possible future that comes after. Our cannabis portal and premium newsletter, Cannabis Professional, are good places to get caught up and stay informed once legalization is here. Here’s an overview of some of the major issues to get you ready for the 17th.…
What’s going on in Ontario
Canada’s most populous province – and, by extension, the biggest potential market for cannabis consumption – will be among the least prepared for legalization day, which is why we’re giving it its own section here.
Originally, premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government created a new wing of the LCBO, the provincial liquor watchdog, that would be in charge of cannabis sales. Then Ontarians elected Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives, who instead decided private retail was the way to go.
How many stores will there be? What cities will they be in? We don’t know that yet: The government won’t have a framework ready until April, and Ontario’s cities – which are holding municipal elections on Oct. 22 – get a one-time window to decide if they want pot stores locally. So on Oct. 17, Ontarians can buy online through the government retailer, but not in bricks-and-mortar shops.
Where the black market begins
The legalization covers fresh and dried cannabis, and weaker kinds of cannabis oil, but not concentrates, extracts or the edible products that can be made from them. Ottawa says it will figure out a regulatory framework for edibles within a year, but for now, the businesses selling them are still grey-market at best. That isn’t deterring the Canadian purveyors of “shatter” – mechanically extracted cannabis oil that’s been concentrated into a hard substance – and the big businesses eager to sell their products once they’re legal.