Canada’s Cannabis Act 2018: Everything You Need to Know
Jul 03, 2018 Education
Canada’s Cannabis Act is set to become the first national cannabis legalization Act in a developed country since prohibition happened in the 1920s and 1930s. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made cannabis legalization one of his main campaign promises back in 2015 when he was running for election. Many attribute Trudeau’s pot policies to have influenced the younger voter demographic to vote for the Liberal party and help them win a majority.
For the past couple of years, July 1 of 2018 has been projected as the date of legalization and hinted at by the Prime Minister. But as that date quickly approaches, it begins to look less likely it’ll happen this summer. Those in the know are now projecting Fall 2018 as the time legalization will receive Royal Assent and become law. Don’t be surprised if it’s October or even later before you can legally buy recreational weed in Canada.
Although it may appear that cannabis was already legalized in cities like Vancouver and Toronto, Cannabis remains illegal until October 17, 2018 (unless you have a medical prescription for it). Thousands of Canadians are still being charged with possession and other related offences just months before legalization. Many have called on Trudeau to issue pardons for individuals with non-violent cannabis charges. Yet police forces are asking for larger budgets in order to enforce cannabis legalization.
Dispensaries and Online Sales
Under the Cannabis Act, each province will have the ability to choose whether it wants a privately-owned or government-owned dispensary model. It is still unknown what will happen to the currently illegal dispensaries that are operating in provinces like British Columbia where there will be a mixed private and public storefront model. The Government of BC has stated that they will consider all applications and that having a currently operating dispensary neither helps or harms your chances of receiving a dispensary license.
In provinces with government monopolies on cannabis sales and distribution (such as Ontario) it is known what will happen to the illegally operating dispensaries: they will be forced to shut down and if they don’t, then they will be fined huge sums of money.
Despite cannabis still being illegal, purchasing recreational cannabis has never been easier since the liberals came into power with hundreds of dispensaries and online retailers popping up all across the country. Many ganja entrepreneurs have seen this as open season.
However, under the proposed framework all of these online retailers will be shut down and each provincial government will have a monopoly on online sales within their respective province.
Top Priorities of the Cannabis Act
Overall, both provincial and federal government’s top priorities are protecting young people, promoting health and safety, providing safe and regulated cannabis distribution, keeping the criminal element out of cannabis, keeping our roads safe, and supporting economic development. It is up to each province to decide what specific laws and measures they enact to keep criminals out of cannabis, decide how they will support economic development etc.
Government officials continue to show us just how little they actually know about weed, and many are now sounding alarm bells about the major pitfalls of this tabled legalization. Their proposed legalization is ironically half-baked and leaves many pro-cannabis activists scratching their heads and calling this “fake legalization”.
The Cannabis Act takes effect as of October 17, 2018 when recreational cannabis will officially be legalized for the adult population in Canada.
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