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One Year On: Update on Cannabis Legal Market In Canada

Jordan Webber

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Cannabis Market in Canada - An Update

One of the first nations to declare the legalization of cannabis was Canada. The decision to make marijuana legal has wowed not only marijuana advocates around the world but also those who are skeptical about it. When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared the regulation to make marijuana consumption legal, more illegal dispensaries showed up, which urged the authorities to take control over the market. Cannabis lawyer Harrison Jordan recalled seeing an influx of these illegal dispensaries during this time.

More than a year later, Canada surprised the world with positive results of the cannabis legalization. Trudeau started the advocacy with the mission to ‘combat criminal elements’ and now, the response is beyond what was expected. Aside from wiping out illegal producers and sellers, the legalization also opened up a new driver for Canada’s economy.

Cannabis Update in Canada

Let us take a look at the first-year journey of cannabis legalization in Canada.

Transition to the Cannabis Legal Market

Before the legalization kicked in, there are a number of illegal marijuana dispensaries all over Canada. Without the license to operate, a number of risks are seen, particularly minors getting involved with marijuana for recreational use. If the market is uncontrolled, almost anyone can purchase and abuse cannabis products. This is already a problem and the Canadian government has to do something to turn the tables and construct stricter regulations.

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in charge, he declared support for marijuana, which led to its legalization in 2018. The Cannabis Act made marijuana legal but involved a number of rules for sellers to distribute cannabis, as well as buyers to get access to the products.

The regulations have made the market saturated, however, participating dispensaries acquired licenses to operate and distribute cannabis. This means, no under-the-table deals are in place, encouraging more people to buy from reputable sellers all over Canada. In one way, this is Canada’s way of dissolving the cannabis black market and take control of the market.

Regulating Cannabis in Canada

By the time that rules were in place, illegal sellers were minimized. The enforcement of the law is strict and the Office of Controlled Substances works closely with the local enforcement agencies to combat illegal sellers and distributors. In addition, raids were conducted to seize cannabis in large amounts and penalize sellers who illegally distribute cannabis beyond Canada’s borders.

Under the Cannabis Act, only individuals in the legal age of 18 can legally possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis in public, grow 4 plants for personal use, and purchase cannabis from authorized retailers. Violations result in tickets and prison time of 5 to 14 years.

A new law was also introduced called the Bill C-93 or No Fee, Expedited Pardons for Simple Possession of Cannabis, which sought to expedite Canadians with historical criminal records on selling or possessing cannabis in public. This new legislation aims to break the stigma and help people to apply for consideration for small possessions of cannabis.

Positive Impacts Recorded

The Canadian government recently released its first National Cannabis Survey in 2019, detailing the effects of marijuana legalization in the country. The study aims to find the condition of the cannabis market, the number of underage people consuming cannabis, as well as the influence of marijuana in society.

One of the highlights of the study is the contribution to the Canadian economy, with sales up to $43 million in the first two weeks of legalization. According to the study, the cannabis industry grew by 185 percent, contributing almost $8 billion to the country’s GDP. Industry experts believe that the cannabis market have bigger potential and can be worth more than $20 billion in the coming years.

Because of the cannabis legalization, more cannabis enterprises are going in the country to legally produce, sell, and distribute marijuana. The biggest cannabis in the world is operating in Canada, including Canopy Growth Corp., Aurora Cannabis, and Aphria Inc.

Meanwhile, consumer rates also increase for a year, but underage people consuming cannabis didn’t increase. The study also revealed that the number of people driving impaired under the influence of marijuana didn’t increase. Following the legalization, the study states that cannabis use across Canada has remained unchanged, however, the number of people consuming cannabis increased. The statistics revealed that more first-time users increased in numbers, with age over 45 years.

What Needs Improvement

Despite the positive impacts of cannabis legalization, there are some things that need improvement. One is in terms of supply shortages that hurt retailers in Canada. Because the regulation requires licensing of production, sales, and distribution, the licensing bodies cannot fully deliver due to overwhelming demand. Some provinces move quicker than others, that is why there are still some people who turn to illegal sellers to get access to marijuana.

The licensing challenges also prevent more sales for retailers, that is why optimistic year-one estimates were not met. The differences between the local government regulations matter, for instance, Ontario voted for a private model for storefront sales. This led to the increase of online stores in Ontario while physical stores did not open until April 2019. After the storefronts were opened to the public, sales jumped to $19.7 million from $7.7 million.

The issue of accessibility was also raised as edibles and concentrates can be accidentally consumed by youth. A child can easily mistake an edible cookie for a normal cookie, which could bring risks or effects, depending on the potency of the cannabis product. The government also needs to impose stricter regulations on advertising extracts, topicals, edibles, and other cannabis products so youth can be properly educated.

The packaging of cannabis goods also needs to be looked into, just like what Quebec is implementing. Quebec currently prohibits cannabis chocolates, sweets, and desserts to avoid enticing youth to try cannabis-infused products. It all boils down to proper and accessible education to reduce the risks associated with the new cannabis products.

Speaking of new products, cannabis extracts used in vaping devices must be monitored to avoid fatalities related to this. The ingredients causing the harm need to be looked into in order to combat the growing death toll on vaping. This is the reason why Nova Scotia has prohibited flavored cannabis vaping products altogether. Although this move may carry the risk of illegal vaping products, the government needs to take action.

Displacing Illegal Markets

Immediately displacing illegal markets is a big challenge for Canada, considering the uneven access to retail stores in the country. If the supply isn’t enough, many people resort to alternative, which is offered by unlicensed retailers. However, there is a success in slowly displacing these illegal retailers because there is an increase in the reporting purchases from legal purchases. Those reporting purchases from illegal sources declined for a year.

The National Cannabis Survey also revealed that most people turn to legal retailers for safety and product quality, not just price. The strong quality assurance provided by legal producers and distributors helps consumers to shift to the legal market.

For a cannabis business to get a license from the government, basic product quality is examined to fit the quality standards set. The government has established benchmark laboratories to test and standardize the quality of cannabis products. The tests ensure the consistent result or effect of cannabis before commercial selling.

Marijuana Market In The Future

Given that cannabis legalization is only in its second year, Canada will surely have a lot of improvements to make. Some improvements can wipe out illegal sellers, with stricter regulations and penalties. Moreover, as more businesses are jumping in, the cannabis market has a lot of potentials. From edibles, topicals, capsules, skincare, and cosmetics.

In addition to physical dispensaries and stores, more online retailers are expected to come out in the coming years to meet the demand of those looking to buy cannabis online. This is in response to the growing demand of Canadians for high-quality marijuana products for both recreational and medical use.

Finally, research facilities in the country can flourish, identifying emerging concerns in the market as well as implementing best practices for producing high-quality marijuana products. New developments on the marijuana plant can still happen in the future, which will entice more people to use cannabis for medical purposes.

Conclusion

Canada is truly commendable for implementing the legalization of marijuana. Making consumption or use legal on a federal level provides value access to high-quality cannabis for medical and recreational use. More than displacing illegal markets, the legalization also opened another economy driver, which helps the country increase its GDP.

The results came out mostly positive but some loopholes can be corrected given the proper management and implementation. While it is still too early to predict whether 2020 will be a good year for cannabis, market stabilization is key to cater to consumers. This is especially applicable to heavily-populated areas like Ontario.

Effective monitoring and implementing best practices is needed between the different tiers of the government. This might mean reforming regulations set or adding new ones to create an effective policy moving forward.

Benefits of Medical Marijuana

The State of Cannabis in Washington State: Things To Know in 2021

Jordan Webber

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The Pacific Northwest is well known for its beautifully lush landscapes, crisp apples, fresh air, and progressive lifestyle/health views. Being the only state named after a United States president(George Washington), Washington is a place many happily and willingly call home or their sanctuary.  

In terms of other well-knowns, Washington state was one of the first to legalize cannabis for recreational use nearly a decade ago (2012 to be exact). As long as you are 21 years old or older and reside in the state, you can privately partake in the consumption of cannabis without any legal ramifications. This has been an appeal to many across the country, with some actually moving to the state for this reason.

In 2021, and with the dawn of a new administration in the White House, marijuana looks to have a very bright few years ahead. We’ve already seen an emergence of pot stocks and hometown dispensaries budding up all around the United States and the rest of North America, and that only looks to continue into the near future.

If you’re in the mood to finally take the leap into using cannabis, now could be a great time to learn more about this wonderful plant and its many healing and rejuvenating properties. 

What is it used for mainly in 2021?

Cannabis was once thought only to be good for “getting high.” There has been a plethora of scientific research giving us a better understanding of this miracle plant. It has been used to treat Cancer, Epilepsy, Seizures, Glaucoma, PTSD, Multiple Sclerosis, Inflammation, and even Alzheimer’s disease. In 2021 after a rough 2020, many have been using it as a healthier way to indulge at home, protecting themselves from the ongoing pandemic. Instead of frequent alcohol consumption, there has been a larger shift towards the consumption of cannabis as it has been stated to be less harmful to vital organs like the heart and liver. Alcohol also creates a lot of inflammation within the body, whereas cannabis reportedly fights inflammation. 

Best places to buy it in 2021?

The best places to purchase your cannabis are from state-licensed retailers in Washington. Purchasing weed through private means(aka black-market) is still illegal and should be avoided at all costs. Make sure to do your due diligence when seeking reputable dispensaries as there are “pop-up shops” that claim being licensed but are not, and purchasing from them could result in a hefty fine or even jail time. 

Per WeedMaps, Medical marijuana patients may purchase and possess up to:

  • 3 ounces of marijuana, or 85 grams;
  • 48 ounces, or 1.36 kilograms of marijuana-infused products in solid form;
  • 1.69 gallons, or 6.4 liters of marijuana-infused products in liquid form, or; 
  • 21 grams of marijuana concentrate.

Washington state cannabis Legislation in 2021

As far as growing and cultivation of marijuana for personal use, this is still illegal. Washington cannabis laws are more liberal than other states, but there are still many restrictions, such as not being able to consume it in “public view”. The most notable push in the cannabis space in Washinton state is a bill for home cultivation.

Conclusion

Washington is a great place to visit and, for many, is one of the best places to call home due to its stance on cannabis consumption. With 2021 being a year of progression, it looks like the state of cannabis in Washington will only continue to shine.

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Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Could CBD Help Fight Severe Cases Of COVID-19? [VIDEO]

Carissa Stevens

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CBD Help Fight Severe Cases Of COVID-19

Scientists are now investigating how the inflammatory properties of CBD could treat the cytokine storm that comes along during severe cases of Covid-19 infections. According to research, there are a few strains of cannabis that are worth looking at. Watch this video to learn more.

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Cannabis Business

Social Equity Partners is Available For Arizona Applicants

Stacey Wellington

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With the passage of prop 207, legal cannabis sales for recreational purposes become a new norm for Arizona residents. The legal cannabis market is a multi-billion dollar industry with a projected worth of $73 billion globally by 2027. That’s why it is important for local residents of Arizona to look for partnerships that benefit local communities within Arizona instead of foreign corporations.

Social Equity Partners’ mission is to assist Arizona residents who were convicted of non-violent cannabis felonies to apply for adult-use marijuana dispensary and cultivation establishment licenses through the program offered by Social Equity Partners. Their goal is to offer Arizona residents with cannabis convictions extensive support in receiving a license and establishing a cannabis business through the Social Equity Program. The founder Thomas Lopez was convicted in 2001 by the State of Arizona with a felony for marijuana possession. He understands the obstacles of what it takes to have personal and professional growth after a criminal conviction which is why he founded Social Equity Partners.

Under the ELEVATE brand label, one of the services that Social Equity Partners offers is access to their fully conceptualized dispensary. ELEVATE is a boutique dispensary with the aim to modernize and deliver the highest-quality marijuana products, with locations planned for Sunnyslope, Glendale and Tempe. ELEVATE aims to serve the local communities of Arizona as a small independent business that keeps money in the community instead of generating profits for foreign corporations while forgetting about the concerns of the local citizens.

Applicants will receive assistance with developing a broad web presence, social media campaigns, and professional branding once accepted into partnering with Social Equity Partners. They will also have access to their pool of local investors who are local community members looking to provide capital for starting dispensaries that benefit local residents instead of funneling money into corporations.

Social Equity Partners will be there to offer assistance during the application process for Arizona residents who are applying with felony cannabis convictions by helping them complete the application, create a compelling business plan, and verify financial requirements.  The goal for Social Equity Partners is to ensure that all funding remains local and stays in the community. With this partnership, they believe that applicants have a chance to positively impact their neighborhoods and take part in reinvigorating local economies with locally-based investors’ support.

With a partnership like Social Equity Partners, applicants will have access to full support from land-use lawyers, Realtors, and permitting specialists to help with identifying a site for your cannabis business. Their real estate brokers and lawyers understand the legal requirements for zoning laws for spaces all over Arizona and will help assist partners with finding the right property for their needs. Their partnership increases the likelihood of eligibility for the Social Equity Ownership Program with their proven funding and business plans already in place.

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