Wide Range of Voices Submit Briefs on Marijuana Legalization

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Wide range of voices submit briefs on marijuana legalization With diverging opinions, the Health Committee’s job will be to sift through all the briefs

As the Health Committee gets ready to hear from witnesses this week on the government’s plan to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes, the Committee’s parliamentary website has uploaded no less than 75 briefs that individuals and organizations have submitted for consideration.

There’s a wide range of comments from an even wider range of parties submitting briefs. Briefs from hydroponics companies co-mingle with briefs from licensed producers, health organizations, and even locally-oriented entities like the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities. Let’s take a look.

Some interesting insights can be gleaned from the briefs of licensed producers and other cannabis companies. In its brief, Aphria calls for a pharmacy model to be introduced to distribute recreational cannabis. Aurora Cannabis, in their submission, feels that the time has come for private retail stores. Tilray also included support for retail distribution, while also advocating for a mail delivery regime to be made available to recreational consumers. Quebec-based Hydropothecary wants to see responsible regulation of edibles, and fears that the law as drafted “will result in popular edible cannabis consumption options being illegal and the demand for these products being served by an unregulated black market.”

The Green Organic Dutchman, a more recently licensed producer, implored the Health Committee to allow organic certification on cannabis packaging and labelling. They feel it will “create an incentive for industry to pursue sustainable growing techniques.”

There were briefs from non-licensed producers that otherwise had a stake in legalization, including Weedmaps, which made a few suggestions in its brief, including the merging of medical and recreational markets and flexibility in the marketing and advertising of marijuana which it called “essential.” Canadians for Fair Access, in alliance with the Arthritis Society, submitted a brief calling for pharmacy distribution of medical cannabis and a removal of sales tax on medical cannabis.

There are also submissions from representatives of the emerging “grey market” hoping to give “craft growers” the ability to participate in the emerging market, including the Craft Cannabis Association of British Columbia. Eden Medicinal Society says that they are “concerned that the proposed legislation … will unfairly exclude the small craft and MMAR/ACMPR growers who have provided Canadians with access to high quality cannabis products.” A submission by the Kootenay Outdoor Producer Co-op asked for the government to approve a co-op model that would allow production over several small sites, with processing taking place at a central location.

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