Recreational marijuana may be legal by Canada Day 2018, but Canadians will probably be buying it online, says Ottawa lawyer Trina Fraser.
She and some others in the cannabis industry doubt whether legal pot stores will be open in most provinces by the federal government’s target date for legalization.
There is a massive amount of regulatory work to be done, says Fraser, who advises clients on obtaining licenses to grow marijuana.
“There are so many aspects to this. Every level of government is affected. There are a lot of moving parts. It’s going to take some time to make sure everything is a coordinated, functioning regulatory regime.”
Legalization of marijuana is a process, not an event, says Fraser, echoing a frequent comment among those in the industry.
“There’s a (mistaken) impression by the public that we’ll just flip a switch, and suddenly all these products that were previously illegal are going to be legal,” Fraser says.
She ticks off the tight timeline. The federal cannabis legislation has passed second reading and will be debated by a House committee in the fall. It must pass the House and Senate, with regulations written, before the provinces can finalize their legislation. If stand-alone cannabis stores are adopted, they must be built and a distribution network created.