New Cross-Canada Trade Deal Will Set the Stage for a National Marijuana Market

Article by Andy Blatchford, Financial Post

A new Canadian provincial trade agreement is drawn up in such a way that it allows for the inclusion of new sectors, such as recreational marijuana. New cross-Canada trade deal will set the stage for a national marijuana market

Governments across Canada will unveil an internal-trade agreement Friday designed to not only knock down domestic business barriers, but also lay the groundwork for talks to eventually establish a cross-country marijuana market.

Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains says the long-awaited deal, meant to boost economic growth, will also establish a clear process to help provinces and territories regulate the trade of recreational pot.

Those discussions will come, of course, once the federal government legalizes marijuana with legislation that government insiders have said would be introduced next week.

Once Ottawa moves forward with legalization, the Canada Free Trade Agreement will offer a transparent mechanism to help provinces and territories discuss standards that will include “making sure that there’s more choice and better price points,” said Bains.

“It’s really about … having an open market,” he said in an interview Wednesday. “It’s all about, again, eliminating any red tape that may exist.”

When it comes to pot legalization, Bains said, the government’s overarching objectives remain protecting young Canadians and getting money out of the hands of criminals.

The reference to marijuana is tucked into an internal-trade deal that is expected to ease regulations across provinces, open up billions in new procurement opportunities and set stiffer enforcement rules for non-compliance.

It’s due to come into effect July 1 to coincide with Canada’s 150th birthday.

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