The Canadian government plans to legalize and regulate recreational cannabis in July 2018. Legal marijuana will be new territory for many Canadians, but not for current medical users, says public policy expert Will Stewart.
“If you’re a medical patient now,” Stewart told us, “you probably have a pretty good understanding of what it’s going to look like in July of 2018.”
The big difference, Stewart told Lift, is that now the market “will be open to everyone.”
By 2018, Stewart predicts provinces will already have plans laid out on how to control recreational use and distribution. He also predicts a “massive amount” of public education on cannabis use and misuse, sponsored in part by the federal government.
“This is a substance that is going to be new to many people, and we want to make sure that there’s no ill effects, there’s no bad things that happen as people begin to explore cannabis perhaps for the first time or coming back to it after a long time.”
Basic cannabis products to start
For consumers, one thing looks clear: At the press conference announcing the new legislation, federal ministers noted that in the beginning, Canadians will only be able to purchase dried cannabis, cannabis oil, fresh cannabis, cannabis plants and seeds for cannabis plants.