Article by Whitney Abrams, Law Times
October 17 has come and gone. Recreational cannabis is now legal across Canada and demand spiked instantly.
The Ontario Cannabis Store, for example, says it received about 100,000 online orders within the first 24 hours of cannabis becoming legal. Twelve thousand of these orders were placed within the first hour of legalization.
The federal Cannabis Act, which came into force on Oct. 17 and legalized recreational cannabis, left key aspects of regulation to the provinces and territories. Specifically, provinces and territories are each responsible for developing systems for the distribution and sale of recreational cannabis, as well as developing restrictions on consumption of cannabis in their respective jurisdictions.
On the same day that recreational cannabis was legalized on a federal level, Ontario’s Bill 36, the Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act, 2018 received royal assent and changed previously established regulations on the consumption of cannabis at the 11th hour.
This meant that lawyers specializing in cannabis and otherwise needed to become re-familiarized with a brand-new regime. Immediately, lawyers impacted by cannabis legalization in a multitude of areas needed to consider what impact the change had on clients’ business plans and how to advise clients to change and adapt to the new legislation.
Beginning April 1, 2019, Ontarians will see privately run stores sell recreational cannabis and cannabis accessories under strict regulation from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. The AGCO will be evaluating and granting applications to retail operator hopefuls. Until the bricks-and-mortar retail stores are up and running next year, all legal sales in Ontario will be done through the OCS’ online store.