Canada is Legal, Now What?
Canada’s federal government has begun allowing purchase, sale and use of small amounts of marijuana as of Oct. 17. The latest developments will bring about many changes in Canada and the United States. Visitors need to be privy to some of the important rules and future changes. In addition, legalization in Canada is going to leave a lasting impact on the US as well as set the bar for what’s to come for the US. We will fill you in with all the details now that our neighbor to the north has said yes to legalization.
The Canadian Cannabis legislation, known as the Cannabis Act, stems from a campaign pledge of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to keep marijuana away from underage users and curb marijuana-related crime. The motion is intended to allow public management of cannabis use, protect children and take illegal funds away from organized crime. The black market was owning that production line, and using the revenue to feed other criminal activities. This is also a way of dealing with other safety and health issues like unlicensed grow operations that put neighbors in danger. It will ensure quality in production because producers will be held to a strict set of requirements. It protects minors while enabling adults to do what as they please.
Canadian provinces may impose different or stricter local laws than the national policy. The federal law sets the age limit for using cannabis at 18. Alberta uses the same age, but next-door British Columbia set its threshold at 19. Users are allowed to have 30 grams of dried marijuana. Although marijuana is now legal for recreational use in Canada, cannabis-infused edibles won’t be legal for at least another year until nation studies on how the initial year went are conducted. Yukon Territory only allows consumption in private residences. Northwest Territories prohibits use in places with children. Alberta cannabis sellers must operate separately from places selling alcohol, tobacco or pharmaceuticals. Prices are set by the government, and range from $5.25 to $20 per gram. “Parks Canada has made it a restricted activity,” said Waterton spokesman John Stoesser. “You can’t smoke in public areas of campgrounds, cooking areas or roads. We’re pretty close to Alberta’s provincial legislation for the rules around tobacco use. You can’t use it in buildings, playgrounds, schools.
Cannabis remains illegal to take across the U.S. international border. On both sides of the border the law says it’s illegal to transport marijuana, even from U.S. states like Washington that have also legalized recreational cannabis use. Whether you are entering or leaving Canada, it is illegal to have marijuana with you, and you could face criminal charges. You can't travel across international borders with it, even if it you are going to Colorado or any of the other eight US states where it has been legalized. Another issue people have been reporting is with re-entry to the US. At the US border, travelers were asked if they had ever smoked cannabis before and were denied entry into the US if they admitted they had. Canadians who are barred from entering for having used marijuana in the past may apply for a waiver. But they can be costly and cumbersome to attain, and must be renewed every five years. Henry Chang, a partner at Toronto law firm Blaney McMurtry who specializes in immigration law, advises pot-smoking Canadians to neither admit to marijuana use, nor lie about it. "Refuse to answer the question. Say it's irrelevant. Say you don't know why this question is being asked," Chang told the CBC. They won't be able to enter the U.S. on that occasion, he says, but they will be able to go and consult with a lawyer who may be able to resolve the situation.
Canada’s recent legalization of marijuana will put pressure on the U.S. government to follow suit, says Coda Signature CEO Mark Grindeland. Coda Signature is the number one maker of cannabis-infused chocolate edibles in Colorado by market share and has seen a 100% growth from 2017 to 2018. “It’s a huge milestone for Canada. We’re really excited for all of the companies up there. We’re incredibly excited. We do think that this will also influence Congress to address national legalization in the U.S,” he told Yahoo Finance. As soon as infused products are available to Canadians that it will start to take market share away from flower sales, which has been the case in the U.S. in each state that has legalized. One of the other advantages of edibles, as well as topicals is for seniors who are looking for medicinal effects of cannabis and CBD products. Grindeland says that cannabis infused edibles have greater market share in Colorado than flowers. “Today in Colorado, if you look at the overall market share, about 48% of the market is comprised of edibles, topicals, and concentrates, and you’ve got about 42% flower, meaning what Canada is selling today,” he said. “If you look outside of the cannabis world into consumer-packaged goods, beverages … consumers are passionate about brands, and we think that the brands that gain market share in the cannabis industry will be the dominant brands and create great shareholder value in the future. It’s harder to brand flower,” he said.
In closing legalization in Canada is going to have a lot to do with the US and its potential legalization. Paying attention to what is going on in Canada will help the US figure out the best plan for its own liberation. Of course, though, people will be watching and waiting to see what happens and what the numbers indicate. As strides are made changes will follow and we will keep you filled in with the latest.