Article by Jeanette Vandermarel, Globe and Mail
In the 19th century it was gold rushes in British Columbia. In the 20th century it was the discovery of oil in Alberta. In the 21st century, it will be the growth of cannabis across Canada.
For good and bad, Canada has been shaped by a series of singular, transformational events. In each case, the economic boom and ensuing social impact has challenged Canadian society and tested the ability of governments and courts to recalibrate policies, laws and expectations.
Nowhere is this more apparent than with the pending legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada. Not surprisingly, there has been tremendous focus on the approval date for Bill C-45. But as that day approaches, it’s increasingly clear how much remains to be resolved – and the risk imposed by the complicated process that still lies ahead.
Currently, Canada has a unique opportunity to position itself – and federally licensed legal Canadian cannabis companies – as world leaders in a global sector that is forecast to be worth $60-billion a year by 2028. Just as we leveraged our early expertise and experience in mining and energy after the initial booms in those sectors, we can do the same with cannabis. If, that is, we get it right.
One of the primary challenges is the inevitable urge to appease all the different industry players’ interests in the initial sweep of legislation. If we want to assume that global leadership role, there is no room for continued grey areas in Canada’s cannabis sector.