What has cannabis legalization in Canada been like?
What a year 2018 has been – with all the lead up to legalization, half of us weren’t even sure it would actually happen, or that the government would follow through – but they did!
And with legalization came a whole new pack of legislation – The Cannabis Act
We now are stuck navigating the retail and online sales of a product that once was banned, then was strictly medical, and now is regulated most similarly to alcohol by each of our Canadian provinces with marketing and labeling restrictions as restrictive as Tobacco’s. Companies, entrepreneurs and consumers, are all making way to figure out how they will participate in the new regime.
As a CEO of a new international cannabis company, New Maple Holdings, our company was keenly following the moving legislation target (and still is!) to see what our next profitable venture would be as a function of any regulatory changes. We were more than pleased that the country was sold out of cannabis within four days of dispensary and online recreational sales with the Ontario Cannabis Store beginning – more room for us to make more product! Phewph.
The feeling of sold-out satisfaction would quickly dissolve as soon as we saw the latest restrictions on dispensaries in the Greater Toronto Area being limited to 5 in the downtown Toronto core, in part as a response to well, no product being available! Stores across the country have been losing money from rent and labour costs running while they are unable to sell any product due to a shortage from our federally regulated producers. Yikes!
While the unregulated market watched with a good to medium amount of smug of their new legal competitor’s product shortage, entrepreneurs and corporations alike work to respond with a solution that will compete with what the guy in the bar next door is selling out the back.
As a consumer, times are changing. More and more people are leaning away from alcohol’s calories and hangovers in search of a new substance that will be socially acceptable at parties. Cannabis cocktails, gummies and other libations are showing up at gatherings, dinner parties and household events across Toronto, and everyone is feeling just a little more relaxed instead of hung-over the next day. Giggles abound and something new to try with each new strain!