Article by The Globe and Mail
If the legislative timeline holds, it will be possible for Canadians to legally buy marijuana by this time next year.
But as revealed by the news this week that a major Canadian clearing house may refuse to settle some share trades involving cannabis firms, far too many questions remain unanswered.
This chronic lack of clarity from Ottawa is the reason why Canadian Depository for Securities Ltd. (CDS) is worried about potential liabilities it would face if it facilitated a trade involving a pot-selling company that does business in the United States.
U.S. President Donald Trump seems intent on enforcing federal laws that prohibit the growing and selling of pot, in spite of the fact that more than two dozen states have legalized those practices for both medical and recreational use.
It’s not clear yet whether CDS will indeed refuse to settle trades involving some marijuana companies. It’s not even clear whether it has the right to do that.
But the CDS quandary is emblematic of the uncertainty that faces a new industry in which companies are jockeying for position at the starting gate when pot becomes legal in Canada. The provinces and their regulatory agencies are also in the dark about what to expect.
Here’s the basic question: What is the new recreational pot industry actually going to look like?
The proposed federal Cannabis Act covers a lot of ground when it comes to Ottawa’s responsibilities “respecting the importation, exportation, production, testing, packaging, labelling, storage, preservation, sale, distribution, possession, disposal or obtaining of or other dealing in cannabis or any class of cannabis.”